The 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers roster is coming together rather quickly, but there are still a number of roster holes. The Steelers can draft players to fill these spots, or they can still afford a free agent or two. But the team still has ways to open up a large chunk of free agent dollars by restructuring the likes of Cam Heyward and/or T.J. Watt. With roughly $13.4 million in remaining salary cap space, the Steelers basically only have space to sign their draft class, add a low level free agent, and carry the remainder into the 2022 season. With one restructure the Steelers can remain big players in the free agent market, but is the timing right to make such a move?
Restructuring Cam Heyward in 2022 would save the Steelers an additional $6,586,667 in cap space, assuming his roster bonus he earned in March is eligible to be moved to a signing bonus. It depends on the language of the contract if the $4.5 million bonus he earned on March 20, and if it can’t be moved the restructure will save more in the realm of $4 million. Doing a restructure for T.J. Watt opens up an additional $17,223,750. Obviously, the Steelers can very easily create more valuable cap space.
With almost $24 million in possible money at their finger tips, the Steelers can still be participants on any free agent. If they did make these moves the team could bring in the likes of Tyrann Mathieu, Jarvis Landry, and potentially others. Even with all those moves, they would likely still have money remaining.
But is the current roster good enough to push more money into the future to try to win in 2022? For starters, not making moves of this magnitude almost guarantees the Steelers won't be amongst the AFC’s heavyweights this year. But adding an All-Pro level safety and some better than average receiving help would certainly push this roster in the right direction.
This is honestly the biggest roll of the dice the Steelers could make. On one hand, the team doesn’t have the elite quarterback play as others in the AFC. On the other hand, if the rest of the roster is stacked, it doesn’t matter as much who's at quarterback. Or if the Steelers drafted the next phenom would they maximize that player’s rookie deal?
However, if the Steelers spend this cash, but the rest of the team isn't ready to take that step, the Steelers could be setting themselves back a few years. The team’s general manager Kevin Colbert, for at least the next few months, could make the biggest gamble of his career by making moves along these lines. But would the rest of the organization let someone on the way out take such a risk?
With the amount of question marks surrounding these restructures, it feels as though the Steelers would be better served waiting, especially for T.J. Watt’s contract to be re-done. But what do you think? Should the Steelers restructure the contracts of Cam Heyward and T.J. Watt and try to stack the roster for the here and now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.