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UPDATE: Financial details on both the Steelers 2022 trades

The Steelers traded away one player and traded for another.

Carolina Panthers v Washington Commanders Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers made not one, but two trades on the final day heading up to the NFL’s 4 PM trade deadline on Tuesday. With the Steelers sending Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears in turn for a second-round draft pick in 2023, it wasn’t much longer until it was reported the Steelers also traded for cornerback William Jackson III from the Washington Commanders for a swap of late round draft picks in 2025.

While the compensation for Claypool and the cost of acquiring Jackson are one part of the equation, the financials are another part. With the biggest concern being about William Jackson and the salary the Steelers will take on, it still should be noted the dead money and salary cap relief from trading Chase Claypool. To choose which one to start with, let’s go with the one which was reported first chronologically. All numbers come courtesy of (OTC).

Chase Claypool

Claypool had a four-year rookie contract with the Steelers in which he was almost exactly 2.5 years into the deal. With $2,327,100 as a signing bonus which was spread out to count against the salary cap as $593,025 each of his four seasons, Claypool was also set to earn a base salary of $1,211,512 in 2022. Being eight weeks into the season, Claypool had earned $538,450 from the Steelers in 2022, so the remaining $673,062 will count as the salary cap number for the Chicago Bears as well as how much cash he will be paid by them in 2022.

Adding together Claypool‘s prorated bonus and the amount of salary he had been paid, the fact he is no longer on the team will have Claypool listed as a dead money hit of $1,131,475 for 2022. While it looks like that number is coming in high, the Steelers are actually saving the $673,062 that will be paid by the Bears that was expected to be the rest of Claypool‘s cap hit this year. The only downside to the Claypool deal is that the final year of his prorated bonus of $593,025 will count as a dead money hit in 2023.

William Jackson III

There is a lot of money that was paid to William Jackson by the Washington Commanders over the last two years. Rather than get into those financials, I’m only going to focus on what affects the Steelers. With a base salary of $5 million and a per game roster bonus of $750,000, the remaining 10 weeks of the NFL regular season has Jackson being paid $3,105,903 by the Steelers in 2022. This will be Jackson’s cap hit for this season with Pittsburgh.

As for 2023, this is where things get elevated to a whole new level. Jackson is due a base salary of $9.25 million next season, a roster bonus of $2.5 million which kicks in early in the league year, $750,000 in per game roster bonuses (total for all games, not for each game), and a $250,000 workout bonus. In all, Jackson is set to have a salary cap number in 2023 of $12.75 million. This is only the case if he plays out his current contract with the Steelers next season. If the Steelers choose to move on from Jackson prior to the new league year, there is no dead money associated with his deal that counts in Pittsburgh because it all stays with Washington. Therefore, the Steelers are on the hook for nothing in 2023 in regards to William Jackson if they so choose.

UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Field Yates in a tweet on Thursday morning, William Jackson III agreed to remove his per-game roster bonuses from his existing contract for 2022.

In doing so, only the $2,777,778 in base salary remaining for Jackson is all that he will count on the Steelers salary cap this season. If there was any agreement for next year‘s contract, it has not been reported at this time. The Steelers and Jackson will have time to do anything new with his 2023 contract, or the Steelers could simply release him, after the conclusion of the season.

When I do salary cap articles in the offseason, I often talk about roster displacement and things of that nature. Looking at how William Jackson is replacing Chase Claypool on the roster, it makes for a pretty straight-forward situation. After taking into account the more than $670k the Steelers are saving with Claypool this season and the more than $3.1 million $2.7 million they are paying out to Jackson, the ultimate cost to the salary cap this year is $2,432,841 $2,104,716 when looking at the two moves combined.

During the offseason, I keep a running tab trying to keep track of every dollar spent and the Steelers exact salary cap space. With the constant fluctuation in the roster due to players on the Reserve/Injured List, ones coming on and off the practice squad, practice squad players being elevated for games, and things of that nature, I do not keep a running tab during the season and merely yield to the work done by salary cap sites such as OTC. For those who are curious, OTC currently has the Pittsburgh Steelers with $5,280,475 in salary cap space for 2022 which has them 14th in the NFL.