The Pittsburgh Steelers have filled up their 90-man offseason roster heading into the 2022 NFL season. While there still could be some significant swapping of players, htere is always the chance something else changes things whether large or small. As 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.
To the delight of Steelers’ Nation, Minkah Fitzpatrick and the new Steelers front office worked out their deal much earlier than many expected. In doing so, the move saved the Steelers some salary cap space. The exact numbers for Minkah Fitzpatrick when it comes to the 2022 salary cap were reported by ESPN’s field Yates.
Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick received a $17.5M signing bonus as part of his extension, while his 2022 base salary dropped to $4M.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) June 16, 2022
His updated 2022 cap charge: $8,124,235.
In locking up their star, the Steelers also created $2,487,675 in cap space.
As I stated in an article yesterday, the problem with these numbers is they don’t exactly add up based on all the information given. If adding Fitzpatrick‘s base salary for 2022 to the $3.5 million prorated bonus created by having a $17.5 million signing bonus over five seasons, it only comes to a cap hit of $7.5 million for 2022. Exactly where the other money comes in, which is almost $625k, has not been reported in this time. It could be a number of things, such as Fitzpatrick’s original contract being under the old CBA and they have since added a 17th game. Saying the missing amount is EXACTLY 1/17 of Fitzpatrick’s fifth-year option to the dollar, this is likely the case, but exactly where this money falls as part of the contract is unclear. Unfortunately these specifics have not been reported at this time. But with Yates giving a very specific dollar amount for Fitzpatrick’s salary cap charge this season, I am moving forward with this report as being accurate and will adjust the numbers later if it is found to be incorrect.
Based on this number, Fitzpatrick’s $10.612 million salary cap hit for 2022 will reduce by almost $2.5 million with this new deal. What I found interesting is the amount of Fitzpatrick’s base salary that was not converted into a signing bonus. With an additional $3 million that could have been included, it did not give the Steelers additional cap releif for the season but also did not spread more than needed into the future. If one wants to read between the lines, it could simply mean the Steelers did not feel that they needed the extra cap space for this year.
When a player is signed by the Steelers, one thing that has to be factored in is 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. But in the case of Fitzpatrick, it was not an addition to the roster so there is no displacement.
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, 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: Reported $1.0475 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525
Karl Joseph: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0
Miles Boykin: Reported $2.54 million; After displacement++: -$0
Terrell Edmunds: Reported $1.1875 million; After displacement+: -$0.2925
Damontae Kazee: Reported $1.0475 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525
George Pickens: Reported $1.22767 million; After displacement+: -$0.33267
Trenton Scott: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0
DeMarvin Leal: Reported $0.943072 million; After displacement+: -$0.048072
Bryce Watts: Released with $10k in dead money: -$0.01
Tuzar Skipper: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0
Stephon Tuitt: Saved $9.05 million salary; After displacement+: +$8.155 million
Minkah Fitzpatrick: Reported $8.124235 million; Replaced $10.612 million: +$2.487765 million
Estimated salary cap space: Approximately $23.1 million
*The salaries displaced by these two contracts were $845,183 (Tre Norwood) and $848,610 (Pressley Harvin)
+A $895k contract was displaced
++Displaced by each other, giving no change to the cap
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 $20,618,968 under the salary cap. OTC does not have the new Fitzpatrick contract yet, but without it we had the exact same dollar amount.
Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $20,131,112 under the cap. Spotrac has the above contracts except Fitzpatrick, but also has Miles Boykin’s prorated bonus incorrectly counting for the Steelers instead of it sticking with the Ravens. Spotrac does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap at this time either. Additionally, Spotrac counts the potential dead money hits of players outside the top 51 salaries in their totals.
What about Kenny Pickett?
The only remaining draft pick left to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers is Kenny Pickett. After factoring in displacement, his contract will count approximately $1.99 million towards the salary cap based on the rookie pool estimate chart provided by OTC. Since this contract is not signed yet, it will not be included at this time until the precise dollar amounts are known. Even if taking these amounts into account, the Steelers would still have approximately $21.1 million left in salary cap space.
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:
Based on this number, the Steelers could have at least $10 million above what they need for the 2022 season based on previous years. Even though there could be some dead money in contracts with players not making the 53-man roster, it should be offset even more by larger contracts of players who are waived.
But there is one more expense that could add to the $5 million the Steelers like to take into the season (in years past). If the Steelers elevate players from the practice squad, they must receive a full game check. Taking this into account, along with increases in league-minimum salaries, the Steelers may want to carry as much as another $3 million into the season. For this reason, a more conservative estimate of what they have available would be more in the $7 million range.
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.