Things are not all sunshine and rainbows currently for the Steelers organization. No matter where the 2021 salary cap falls, the team will be handcuffed by the worst cap situation in franchise history. No matter who/how many players restructure, or extend, their deals, other players will end up as salary cap casualties. And if the NFL and the players union agree on a reduced payroll for 2021 you can kiss virtually every free agent goodbye.
At this current moment their is no way the team could afford the services of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bud Dupree, or even Mike Hilton. Three pillars of this team gone, just like that, and the Steelers couldn't do anything to stop it. Yet, there are many people in the organization calling for these players to return as if the salary cap didn’t exist. Perhaps the biggest offender is the Steelers starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who, while is more than happy to reduce his salary cap hit, is trying to recruit his teammates into staying in Pittsburgh.
Part of today’s deal between the NFL and the NFLPA is there will be no impact to the 2020 salary cap – it remains at $198 million.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2020
The cap cannot go lower than $175 million next year, but can go higher if revenues come in better than expected.
The problem in doing so is the awkward position he might be putting the Steelers management in if he convinces Maurkice Pouncey to put off retirement for another year. What if the Steelers were anticipating that money to help give them some salary cap relief? Could Pouncey say “I’m not going to retire” only for management to say “Okay, you’re cut”. In a world where personnel spending could be $175 million, instead of the projected $210 million, it absolutely could happen.
When Roethlisberger wishes for a receiver like JuJu Smith-Schuster back, he also better be hoping Smith-Schuster would take a substantial pay cut to remain in the Steel City. Which would be unfair and unrealistic to actually take place. The departing players on this team will be replaced by extremely cheap veterans, and I anticipate rookies will see the largest role they ever have had in the Steelers system.
Ben Roethlisberger on JuJu Smith-Schuster: "We don't want him going anywhere."— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) January 11, 2021
Instead of talking about how much you want these guys to stay in Pittsburgh, the efforts of fans, players, management and even the owners should be directed at setting the 2021 as high as they can achieve. That’s the only way teams can be saved from being ripped apart, and for the pipe dream of retaining any of the Steelers current free agents.
But what do you think? Do you foresee any of the big name free agents remaining in Pittsburgh? Tell us why or why not down in the comments below.