The opt-out period has come and gone as well as signing all the 2020 draft picks, so now the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 finances have come into focus. As I have written multiple times during this offseason, I do not want to see any more contracts extended or restructured and we are to the point where only cuts will get the team cap compliant by Week 1. Technically the team does not have to allot the carryover money to be cap compliant, it would just mean the Steelers do not go into the season without their emergency fund to conduct regular business. That being said, I believe that the figures at Spotrac are close to being set except for high-dollar players being cut and replaced by cheaper players, or possibly players being placed on injured reserve.
So what does Spotrac show about the health of the Steelers current salary cap? The team is still in need of making cap space. How much cap space is needed? Let’s dive in and break down some of the finances.
OTC has made some serious changes to their website that make navigating the dynamics of the cap very difficult to figure out. While I am not a fan of Spotrac, the site is just easier to read and sift through. I will say there is a $600,000 difference in cap space between the two with Spotrac using a smaller figure. For now, I will use their amount.
Current Cap space: $4,117,033
Current 52nd and 53rd player: $1,350,000
16-man practice squad minimum per week: $2,284,800
Total remaining cap space: $482,233
Desired Carryover: $3,500,000
This is an estimate because of the uncertainty over how the Steelers will handle their weekly practice squad moves. For every practice squad player who gets moved to the regular roster, their salary will not get bumped up $30,000 per week. If the Steelers are forced to make quite a few roster moves, the carryover money will get depleted fast which is ultimately what it is there for. Will the Steelers have a larger carryover amount with a potential Super Bowl run ahead of them in 2020?
The practice squad gets a face lift this season not only because of the new CBA but because of new COVID rules. The practice squad will expand to 16 players rather than the 12 which was originally scheduled. Players with fewer than three accrued season will receive a minimum of $8,400 per week while players with three or more seasons (up to six players total) will earn $12,000 per week.
Players such as Daniel McCullers, Jordan Berry, Ryan Switzer, Trey Edmunds, and Paxton Lynch have to be concerned with their roster spots because of their higher cap number and what positions they team may not keep around. Always keep in mind that every time a player gets cut who is above the Rule of 51, their salary will be replaced by a player who will make at least $610,000. While BTSC fans salivate jettisoning Berry to save $1.8 million, rookie punter Corliss Waitman comes with a minimum salary of $610,000. So the true cap savings would be just under $1.2 million.
Three million is chump change when talking about a $200 million salary cap, but when there are a few players who are not worth their salary in the top 53, it becomes problematic. In a normal year, Colbert would do some extensions but with the 2021 NFL finances and the Steelers cap possibly in shambles, that has got to be off the table until after the season.
Please comment below and let your voice be heard on how you think the team sheds $3 million before Week 1. If needed, make sure you reference BTSC’s Salary Cap FAQ’s if needed.