In one of the first salary cap moves of the 2021 offseason by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team has reportedly restructured defensive tackle Cameron Hayward’s contract for the 2021 season. This per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
The #Steelers did a basic conversion restructure on DL Cam Heyward’s contract, source said, and he’ll still make $10.5M this season. But roster bonus and base were converted to a signing bonus and created about $7M in cap room.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 22, 2021
Since Heyward has the most years remaining on a contract of any member of the Steelers at this moment, it was only a matter of time until a restructure was going to be done. With four years remaining on his deal, converting as much of Heywards $4.5 million base salary and $6 million roster bonus into a signing bonus will spread the money out over four years instead of all being a part of his 2021 cap hit.
If Heyward’s base salary is only the league minimum of $1.075 million for 2021, it means $9.425 million was given as a signing bonus and spread out until 2024. If it was a full restructure for the maximum amount, Heyward’s savings from his $14.55 million cap hit for 2021 would be reduced by over $7 million and could be as low as $7.48125 million. The exact numbers with Heward’s restructure are not known at this time.
With Steelers being projected to be anywhere between $15 million and $20 million over the 2021 estimated salary cap following the retirements of Vance McDonald and Maurkice Pouncey, Heyward’s restructure could take care of anywhere from one-third to one-half of what the Steelers have remaining above the salary cap depending on the final number given by the NFL.
It should be noted that it is easier for Heyward to take the greatest amount possible as a signing bonus as part of his restructure since his current contract was signed since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement came into effect. Other players whose contracts are under the old CBA may have to be paid extra money in order to account for the loss if the NFL goes to a 17-game regular season in 2021.
Although this step is the first one done by the Steelers as they move to become cap compliant by March 17, look for many more moves on the horizon including restructures, releases, and extensions.
Stay tuned to BTSC for all your Pittsburgh Steelers news as the team works to get their salary cap under control while shaping the roster for the 2021 season.