As much as the end of February seems to be a time which could shape the Steelers for the 2021 season, there has been a little official movement when it comes to Pittsburgh’s offseason. With Monday being the first day of March, the Steelers will have two weeks before the legal tampering period of the 2021 NFL offseason begins on March 15.
There is a lot of work to be done and tough decisions to be made. The Steelers have at least $15 million to shed off the salary cap depending on what the final number ends up being from the NFL. The Steelers will likely have extensions, restructures, releases, and even more signings if they can do it. These moves made in March are going to help determine the shape of the Steelers 2021 roster and exactly what they will look to do in April during the NFL draft.
The biggest issue holding up many of the moves the Steelers will be making is the contract situation with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Now that both sides have talked and have publicly stated they are wanting Roethlisberger back for 2021 and are working out the details of his contract, how these numbers ultimately fall will determine other moves the Steelers can make. While having the numbers with Roethlisberger before the new league year starts would be the most beneficial, the Steelers have not set a deadline other than March 17 when it comes to working out things with Ben Roethlisberger.
Although the Roethlisberger situation is looming over everything Steelers do, so are two other related factors which applies to the entire NFL: A 17th regular season game and the ultimate 2021 salary cap. These two items are extremely related as the 17th game not only factors in the player contracts, but the TV deals the NFL is currently finalizing with various networks. Based on these deals, the NFLPA and the league could agree on a different salary cap structure for 2021 based on projected revenue rather than solely on revenue from the previous season as it has always done.
So instead of seeing the Steelers making moves here and there leading up to the start of the league year, we may be looking at a several day barrage of moves rather than several weeks. While this might not be the most preferred method of doing business, it’s not like the Steelers weren’t there recently.
Nearly one year ago, the NFL was unsure how it was going to be handling business for the 2020 season as the hope of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement loomed over everything. With rules in place when teams are in the final year of a CBA, conducting business as usual for the Steelers would not have been an option had there not been a new agreement signed. The results of the NFLPA to vote came on March 15 of 2020 with the legal tampering period starting on March 16 and the new league year kicking off on March 18. Yet even with days to operate, the Steelers still conducted their business over this time when they released players like Anthony Chickillo and Mark Barron and were able to work out a deal with Zach Banner. So as much as we would like to see the Steelers get ahead of everything before the new league year starts on March 17 this season, they have shown they can still get things done with limited time if forced to do so.
There is a lot of business that’s going to be taking place the first few weeks of March. As much as I’d like to see Steelers hit the ground running on March 1 and work things out over the course of those weeks, it seems the NFL might have them held up yet again this season. But be ready Steelers fans, because once the ball gets rolling look for your breaking news to be coming fast and furious as we see what direction this team is going to take heading toward the 2021 season.