The Pittsburgh Steelers got business going on Monday as they began to answer some of the questions with their 2022 roster. As for the second day, it carried on with more of the same. Between coming to terms with two players who cannot sign contracts until 4 PM on Wednesday, along with retaining another of their own players, the Steelers did not sit back and wait when it came to free agency.
So after signing players on Tuesday, how much will it cost the Steelers in 2022 and beyond?
Based on reports, let’s check out exactly where these contracts fell in terms of the salary cap for 2022. While some numbers will be precise, others will have to be speculatory based on the overall contract and not knowing the exact breakdown of signing bonuses and the base salaries. For a recap of the salaries from Monday check it out here:
Reported $26.5 million for three years
There are more details on the contract for James Daniels than any of the others the Steelers agreed to on Tuesday. Already having numbers reported at the major salary cap websites such as overthecap.com, Daniels’ contract comes with an $8.75 million signing bonus. With a $1.25 million base salary the first season and $8.25 million the remaining two seasons, this contract is structured very similar to Chuks Okorafor but ever-so-slightly less. Therefore, the salary cap number before displacement comes in at $4,166,666. The cap hits jump to over $11 million over the final two years of the deal, but the Steelers could get out of the contract for roughly half that next season if things fall apart in a worst-case scenario.
Estimated 2022 salary cap increase after displacement: $3.35 million
Reported $8 million for two years
Since all that is known about Levi Wallace’s contract at this point is the total value and the years, we know that the most it would be for 2022 salary cap is $4 million. This would be the case assuming the Steelers paid no signing bonus which seems to be very unlikely by both the team and the player. To do a rough estimate of the way the Steelers would probably structure this type of contract and split the payments evenly between the first two years, there could be a $1 million base salary with a $3 million signing bonus and $4 million coming the second year. If this is the case, the lower end of the salary cap hit would come in at $2.5 million before displacement. To be a little safer, perhaps the Steelers pay out $5 million the first year, meaning $1 million base salary and $4 million signing bonus, and leave $3 million the following year. If so, that leaves the 2022 cap hit at $3 million before displacement. Remember, this is my guess as to how the contract could be structured.
Estimated 2022 salary cap increase after displacement: $2.2 million (max $3.2 million)
UPDATE: The actual reported salary cap hit according to overthecap.com comes in at $2.5175 million. Therefore the salary cap increase after displacement is only $1.7 million.
Reported $5 million for two years
Much like the contract with Wallace above, we know Montravius Adams will not cost more than $2.5 million against the salary cap this year. Assuming he is getting a signing bonus, and assuming the money was split evenly over both years which may or may not be the case, Adams could be looking at a $1 million base salary, and a $1.5 million signing bonus. To make the numbers a little simpler, I’m going to pay Adam‘s $3 million the first season, with $1 million base and a $2 million signing bonus, which leaves $2 million the next season as a base salary. That makes an estimated even $2 million salary cap hit before displacement. Remember, once again, this is my guess as to how the contract could be structured.
Estimated 2022 salary cap increase after displacement: $1.2 million (max $1.7 million)
After looking at all five of the players the Steelers reportedly added to their team on Monday, it cost approximately $12.8 million against their salary cap space for 2022. For just Tuesday, the three players came to an estimated total of approximately $6.75 million (Updated to $6.25 million) and no more than $8.25 million (assuming no signing bonuses were given), giving a two-day total of approximately $19.5 million (Updated to $19 million). Remember, these values count after displacement, meaning they only count towards the salary cap the difference in salary of the player they knocked out of the top 51.
It’s hard to say if the Steelers will be slowing down when it comes to free agency. The Steelers will have to eventually make some other roster moves at some point. With their remaining cap space, not including the salaries of Miles Killebrew and Arthur Maulet which have not been officially reported, the Steelers remaining salary cap is below what they will need for signing their draft class, the final two players on the roster come September, paying their practice squad, and having money to carry into the season for regular business. But notice three of those things do not come into affect until September, so even a last-minute contract extension, a restructure, or a higher-salaried player not making the roster could help to get to this amount even after the preseason is concluded. So for now, the Steelers still have the ability to manage things in regards to the 2022 salary cap after two big days of business.