It has been almost a week since the report of the Steelers also using void years for the contract signed in June with Trai Turner. It has already been widely reported that the deal was for one year and $3 million, but some of that money will not count on the 2021 salary cap.
A completely accurate report on Turner’s deal is not available from either of the most reputable NFL salary cap websites. But based on information compiled from both overthecap.com and spotrac.com, I can give my best estimate as to what Turner’s contract will count toward the 2021 cap.
According to Spotrac, Turner’s contract has four void years after 2021. Unfortunately, Spotrac doesn’t have the exact correct figure as his base salary is incorrect. At Over The Cap, Turner’s base salary of $1,075,000 is correct, there are no void years reported. In combining the data from the two sources and assuming their are four void years, Trai Turner’s $1,925,000 signing bonus will be spread over five years at $385k per season. If this is the correct contract, Turner will count $1.46 million against the Steelers’ 2021 salary cap and $1.54 million will be pushed into the future. For that reason, an additional $1.54 million is now added to the Steelers salary cap space.
The Steelers also made a move by adding tight end Marcus Baugh, but his salary is not reported to fall in the top 51.
Now where do the Steelers currently stand with the 2021 salary cap? Before free agency kicked off, the Steelers were little more than $6 million under the salary cap. Since then, the number has fluctuated due to various moves.
To determine how much each player changes the Steelers’ salary cap space, their cap number must be adjusted due to roster displacement. As a reminder, roster displacement is taking into account only the top 51 contracts for a team count towards the salary cap during the offseason. As a larger contract comes on the books, it bumps a smaller contract out of the top 51. Therefore, it’s only the difference in those contracts that increases the salary cap number.
Here is the approximate breakdown of the Steelers salary cap space based on recent moves by my own calculations. The numbers are strictly the salary cap hit, or change from what it previously was, for each player in 2021.
Steelers salary cap space heading into free agency: Approximately $6 million
Ray-Ray McCloud: Reported $1 million salary; After displacement: -$0.34 million
B.J. Finney: Reported $987,500; After displacement: -$0.3275 million
Cam Sutton: New report of $1.7 million; After displacement: -$1.04 million
Zach Banner: Reported $2.875 million; After displacement: -$2.215 million
Vince Williams: Saved $4 million salary; After displacement: +$3.34 million
Chris Wormley: Reported $1.6 million; After displacement: -$0.94 million
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Reported $2.4 million; After displacement: -$1.74 million
Tyler Simmons: Reported $660k; not in the top 51: -$0
Joe Haeg: Reported $1.5 million; After displacement: -$0.84 million
Miles Killebrew: Reported $987,500; After displacement: -$0.3275 million
Steven Nelson: Saved $8.25 million salary; After displacement: +$7.59 million
Cassius Marsh: Reported $950,000; After displacement: -$0.17 million
Eric Ebron: Reportedly saved $3.904; No roster displacement: +$3.904 million
Tyson Alualu: Reported $2.0375 million; After displacement: -$1.2575 million
Jordan Berry: Reported $950,000; After displacement: -$0.17 million
Kalen Ballage: Reported $920,000; After displacement: -$0.14 million
Rashaard Coward: Reported $850,000; After displacement: -$0.07 million
Matthew Sexton: Reported $660k; not in the top 51: -$0
Jarvis Miller: Reported $660k; not in the top 51: -$0
Jamir Jones: Reported $660k; not in the top 51: -$0
T.J. Carter: Reported $660k; not in the top 51: -$0
Abdullah Anderson: Reported $780k; not in the top 51: -$0
Vince Williams: Reported $850,000; After displacement: -$0.07 million
Joshua Dobbs: Reported $900,000; After displacement: -$0.12 million
Mason Rudolph: Reported $2,193,066 cap number; After increase: -$0.945199 million
Dan Moore Jr: Reported $834,475; After displacement: -$0.054475 million
Buddy Johnson: Reported $784,836; After displacement: -$0.004836 million
Arthur Maulet: Reported $850,000; After displacement: -$0.067 million
Pat Friermuth: Reported $1,096,033; After displacement: -$0.311197 million
Najee Harris: Reported $2,372,263; After displacement: -$1.568887 million
Offseason Workouts: 90 players x $275/day x 32 days: -$0.792 million
David DeCastro: Saved $8.25 million salary; After displacement: +$7.946624 million
*UPDATED* Trai Turner: Reported $1.46 million; After displacement: -$0.656624 million
Melvin Ingram: Reported $1.66 million; After displacement: -$0.825525 million
Kendrick Green: Reported $886,502; After displacement: -$0.036502 million
Vince Williams: Saved $850,000; After displacement: -$0
Chaz Green: Reported $780,000; not in the top 51: -$0
Marcus Baugh: Reported $780,000; not in the top 51: -$0
Approximate salary cap space: Approximately $13.8 million
Note: Miles Killebrew was the final contract displacing a $660k salary. From Cassius Marsh on, the displacement is a $780k salary. Buddy Johnson was the final contract displacing a $780k salary, so from that point on the contracts varied which were displaced. Now the contracts are at $850k which would be displaced.
So where does this number compare to those reported by the major salary cap websites?
According to overthecap.com, the Steelers are $12,275,466 under the salary cap. OTC has accounted for all other Steelers’ moves except for Turner’s void years. Once the $1.54 million would be added to their number, it is extremely similar to mine.
Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $13,036,817 under the cap. It should be noted that Spotrac does not have an accurate base salary for Turner, although it is close. More discrepancies comes from where they are counting the prorated signing bonuses of players not in the top 51 toward the salary cap as well as not having offseason workouts.
Also, the Steelers will need about an additional $9.5 million come September when they need to account for all 53 players on the roster, sign their practice squad, and have some carryover in order to do business throughout the year. This number is dependent on the NFL going with a 16-man practice squad, and the exact players the Steelers release when they cut down their roster on August 31.
So what do the Steelers actually have to spend at the moment? Of course, they could spend all $13+ million without being in any violation of NFL rules, but they would also have to find the space for the things they need come August 31. If wanting to keep that money available, the Steelers could sign a player whose salary cap number for 2021 was as much as $5 million (because of factoring in roster displacement) and they would still have the $9.5 million available in September. The Steelers could also use the additional space for a new contract for one of their own players such as T.J. Watt. If they don’t use any of their extra cap space, the Steelers would simply roll more money into the next season.