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Updating the Steelers’ salary cap situation after details from Karl Joseph’s contract

After the exact numbers are known about Joseph, how much space do the Steelers have under the 2022 salary cap?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made numerous moves to start off the 2022 NFL league year. While reports come in of these deals well before they are official, even after pen is put to paper it can sometimes take some time to know the exact financials within the contract. Relying heavily on reliable salary cap websites such as overthecap.com or spotrac.com, when they are able to report a player’s contract numbers over the specific years I then update the salary cap situation with a more precise number.

Despite not being the contract in which I’ve been waiting for the longest, the financials of Karl Joseph’s one-year deal with the Steelers has been reported at overthecap.com. Signing a one-year deal for the minimum amount with a player with his years of experience of $1.035 million, Joseph’s contract qualifies under the veteran salary benefit. Being only a one-year deal, Joseph only counts on the salary cap the same as a player who has two years experience in the NFL. Therefore, despite getting paid more, Karl Joseph’s salary cap hit only comes in at $895k. At this total, Joseph’s contract does not land in the top 51 and does not affect the Steelers current salary cap.

The only player currently on the Steelers whose contract is not factored into the salary cap at this time is newly signed linebacker Genard Avery. Signing only a one-year deal, I anticipate it will also be for an amount that qualifies as a veteran salary benefit contract.

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 their recent moves by my own calculations. The numbers are strictly the salary cap hit for each player in 2022. Players who were released, were given a tender, or had their exact salary reported are indicated below and the precise numbers are known.

(NOTE: Unless indicated, all reported salaries displaced a $825k salary.)


Steelers salary cap space heading into free agency: Approximately $28.8 million

Dwayne Haskins: Tendered $2.54 million salary; After displacement: -$1.715 million
Miles Killebrew: Reported $1.5175 million; After displacement: -$0.6925 million
Arthur Maulet: Reported $1.535 million; After displacement: -$0.71 million
Mitch Trubisky: Reported $3.66 million; After displacement+: -$2.765 million
Mason Cole: Reported $2.556666 million; After displacement+: -$1.661666 million
Chuks Okorafor: Reported $4.333333 million; After displacement: -$3.508333 million
Robert Spillane: Tendered $2.433 million salary; After displacement: -$1.608 million
Marcus Allen: Tendered $2.54 million salary; After displacement: -$1.715 million
James Daniels: Reported $4.166666 million; After displacement: -$3.341666 million
Levi Wallace: Reported $2.5175 million; After displacement*: -$1.672317 million
Montravius Adams: Reported $1.7675 million; After displacement+: -$0.8725 million
Zach Banner: Saved $5 million salary; After displacement: +$4.175 million
Myles Jack: Reported $4.75 million; After displacement*: -$3.90139 million
Joe Schobert: Saved $7.834 million salary; After displacement+: +$6.939 million
Ahkello Witherspoon: Reported $2.5175 million; After displacement+: -$1.6225 million
Gunner Olszewski: Reported $1.5825 million; After displacement+: -$0.6875 million
Genard Avery: No report
Karl Joseph: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0

Estimated salary cap space: Approximately $13.45 million

*The salaries displaced by these two contracts were $845,183 (Tre Norwood) and $848,610 (Pressley Harvin)

+A $895k contract was displaced


So where does this number compare to those reported by the major salary cap websites (at the original time of publishing, before any potential updates)?

According to overthecap.com, the Steelers are $13,452,210 under the salary cap. OTC has all of the above reported contracts on the books except Genard Avery and we have the exact same number.

Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $13,419,551 under the cap. Spotrac has the above contracts except Joseph and Avery, but does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap at this time. Additionally, Spotrac counts the potential dead money hits of players outside the top 51 salaries in their totals.

While the Steelers are going to need cap space for a number of things this offseason, it doesn’t have to be at this time. Following the NFL draft, the Steelers will begin signing their draft picks and are estimated to need $2.6 million in cap space once figuring roster displacement after the exact draft positions are known with the announcement of compensatory draft picks. But remember, the Steelers won’t need this amount until at least May. Also, the Steelers will need as much as an additional $10.8 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 as outlined in the following article:

Does something not make sense? Curious about any of the specifics? Leave your questions in the comments below and I will check in and do my best to answer them.