The Pittsburgh Steelers made several moves during the first week of 2023 free agency. 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 (OTC) 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.
Since the last cap update, OTC has reported the salary breakdown for Larry Ogunjobi. Originally reported to have $21.75 million in guaranteed money, this appears to not be the case. The only fully guaranteed money Ogunjobi will receive is his $1.4 million base salary for 2023 and his $10.6 million signing bonus. In 2024, Ogunjobi is due to receive a $5 million base salary and a $4.75 million roster bonus just after the start of the league year. In 2025, Ogunjobi is scheduled to have a $4 million base salary with a $3 million roster bonus due just after the start of the league year.
By splitting up Ogunjobi‘s $10.6 million signing bonus over the three years of the contract, he has a $3,533,333 prorated bonus each year. This puts Ogunjobi’s salary cap number for 2023 at $4,933,333 according to OTC which is even lower than I expected. Ogunjobi’s future salary cap hits are set to be $13,283,333 for 2024 and $10,533,334 million for 2025.
Late Saturday night, the Steelers signed guard Isaac Seumalo to a three-year deal. It has been reported that the deal is worth $24 million but the exact breakdown is unknown at this time.
Late last night, the #Steelers agreed to terms with #Eagles G Isaac Seumalo, giving him a 3-year deal for $24M, source said.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 19, 2023
Assuming that the Steelers spread out the $24 million to $8 million each season, and assuming that Seumalo’s base salary for the first year is the league minimum $1.165 million, the low end of the salary cap estimate would be $3.44 million. A more conservative estimate using the $8 million per season model would be to have Seumalo have a base salary of $2 million in 2023 and a signing bonus of $6 million. This would put his salary cap hit for the season at $4 million. Although I believe the number will come in closer to the $3.44 million, I’m going to use the safe estimate at $4 million until the exact amount is reported.
Remember, 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 2023. When it comes to the estimated amounts, I use their overall contract to estimate what their salary cap hit will be for 2023. When their exact numbers are reported I will adjust things accordingly. Until then, it is simply my best guess.
(NOTE: Unless indicated, all reported salaries displaced a $870k salary.)
Steelers salary cap space heading into free agency: Approximately -$1.4 million
William Jackson III: Saved $12.1875 million salary; After displacement: +$11.3175 million
Carlins Platel: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Patrick Peterson: Reported $4.225 million; After displacement: -$3.355 million
Damontae Kazee: Reported $2.125 million; After displacement: -$1.255 million
Nate Herbig: Reported $2.54 million; After displacement: -$1.67 million
Cole Holcomb: Reported $2.72 million; After displacement: -$1.85 million
Minkah Fitzpatrick: Saved $10.065 million; No displacement: +$10.065 million
Elandon Roberts: Reported $2.3325 million; After displacement: -$1.4625 million
Myles Jack: Saved $8 million; After displacement: +$7.13 million
Larry Ogunjobi: Reported $4.933333 million; After displacement*: -$4.059333 million
Isaac Seumalo: ESTIMATED $4 million; After displacement*: -$3.123916 million
Approximate salary cap space: Approximately $10.3 million
*The salaries displaced by these two contracts were $874,000 (Jaylin Warren) and $876,084 (Calvin Austin III)
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 $13,952,485 under the salary cap and has all the above contracts except for Isaac Seumalo. Additionally, OTC is missing almost $500k in dead money by my calculations. Once factoring this in, we have the same number.
Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $18,578,084 under the cap. Spotrac has the above contracts except for Ogunjobi and Seumalo 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.