Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 salary cap situation is something which is not going away easily anytime soon. In fact, it seems like I am writing at least one article every day in regards to something going on with the situation. When Steelers Team President Art Rooney II took questions from reporters on Thursday, issues regarding the salary cap came up on more than one occasion.
Exactly how much the Pittsburgh Steelers are over the 2021 salary cap is still up in the air. First of all, the number has not been set by the NFL and is merely estimated at this time. But with the Steelers pushing just about every dollar into 2021 that they could, the fact the salary cap is expected to go down due to lost revenue has created a “double whammy” this offseason.
Understanding the trouble the Steelers are in at this moment before having to release or extend a number of players in order to be salary cap compliant, Rooney admitted the Steelers may not be able to conduct business as usual in the future when it comes to contracts. This per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic:
Rooney said that this year's cap issues might force them into how they structure new contracts in the future and restructure high-priced vets for cap relief. Said they will have to look into it more.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) January 28, 2021
To understand better what Rooney may be referring to is how the Steelers restructured every player available during the 2020 offseason. Any player who had more than one year remaining on their contract going into 2020 the Steelers offered them to convert almost all of their salary into a signing bonus so it could be split up over the remaining years of their current contract. With the exception of just a couple players, mainly Stephon Tuitt, all of these contracts were only split into two years because almost all the players final year is 2021.
In doing so, the Steelers did gain the cap space they needed for 2020 but created a large amount of dead money as part of player contracts going into 2021. When players have a lot of years left on their contract, it’s not unusual to have a high amount of dead money. Unfortunately, the Steelers have a lot of players going into the final year of their deal where the dead money amount is quite large.
So what are the Steelers to do? Basically, the amount of restructures they have done in recent years is probably not something they will want to do on a continuous basis. This is merely speculation as Rooney did not specify in what way Steelers will need to make an adjustment.
According to Jim Wexell of 247 Sports, the exact question and answer given by Rooney is as follows:
Will you have to change or alter how you structure new contracts? And how you restructure contracts?
We may have to look at doing some things different, just based on the size of the challenge we have (chuckles) going into this year. So I’m not going to say this is going to be business as usual under these circumstances. It’s going to be a very unusual year, a very difficult year, from a cap standpoint. We’ll really have to look if there are adjustments we need to make in how we restructure contracts. We’ll have to look at that.
Of course, it will be quite some time until Steelers’ fans can see if any philosophy in regards to contracts and restructures were to change. But hearing the team present identify it as an issue is at least one step towards avoiding a repeat of the Steelers current salary cap situation.
For Jim Wexell’s complete transcript of Rooney’s interview, click HERE.