The Pittsburgh Steelers made their first significant salary cap move ahead of the start of free agency next week. Slightly over the 2023 salary cap, the Steelers joined the club of either restructuring or releasing players that picked up across the NFL at the end of this week. In order to save over $12 million in cap space, the Steelers released William Jackson III.
So where do the Steelers currently stand with the 2023 salary cap free after the most recent move? Last week I reported the Steelers were at about $1.4 million over the salary cap. Since then, the Steelers have done what was expected to now have some room to work with.
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 (or in this case, off) the books, it bumps a smaller contract out of the top 51 (or moves in back into the top 51). Therefore, it’s only the difference in those contracts that increases (or decreases) the salary cap number.
With the release of William Jackson III, his $12.1875 million salary as reported by overthecap.com comes off the books. At this time, the salary that gets moved back into the top 51 is $870k. For this reason, Jackson’s salary cap saving after displacement is $11.3175 million.
Here is the approximate breakdown of the Steelers salary cap space based on their latest moves by my own calculations. The numbers are strictly the salary cap implications for each player in 2023. As the offseason rolls on, the list will include players who were released, were given a tender, or had their exact salary reported and are indicated below as the precise numbers are known.
(NOTE: Unless indicated, all reported salaries displaced a $870k salary.)
Steelers salary cap space heading into free agency: Approximately -$1.4million
William Jackson III: Saved $12.1875 million salary; After displacement: +$11.3175 million
Carlins Platel: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Approximate salary cap space: Approximately $9.9 million
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 (OTC), the Steelers are $908,182 over the salary cap. OTC does not have the Jackson release processed yet. Additionally, OTC is missing almost $550k in dead money by my calculations. Once factoring them in, we have the same number.
Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $11,097,584 under the cap. Spotrac has the Jackson contract, but is missing two other contracts that are on OTC in Tae Crowder and Jamir Jones. Additionally, Spotrac does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap at this time.
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 $2.5 million to $3 million in cap space once figuring roster displacement now that 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 more money 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.
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.