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Updating the Steelers’ salary cap situation after details from James Pierre’s contract

With the details of Pierre’s deal now reported, how much space do the Steelers have under the 2023 salary cap?

Las Vegas Raiders v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Gaelen Morse/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers made several moves during the first two weeks 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 (OTC) or, 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, I have been able to get a lot more clarity on the Steelers dead money situation with the help of KiwiSteelerFan. There was a discrepancy between OTC and Spotrac. To be safe, I went with the higher of the two numbers as I could not get a very good detailed breakdown to compare to see which one was accurate. Now that I’ve been able to do this, I actually had the Steelers having $493,330 more in dead money than they should have. The reason for this is Spotrac has Joe Haeg counting as a $500k in dead money for 2023. Although he was released after June 1 of 2022, Haeg’s contract didn’t go into 2023 so there was no way to push his dead money that far. The other discrepancy was from one of the Steelers undrafted free agents last year who did not make the team who Spotrac did not have with a small signing bonus like they should have. I am making this adjustment on my running total below.

For James Pierre’s contract, it’s quite simple since it is only for one year. OTC has reported the Pierre deal was for $1.3 million in base salary for 2023. This will be the amount Pierre counts against the salary cap this year if this report is correct, but with no reported signing bonus it means if Pierre does not make the team there would be no dead money. It should also be noted that if the Steelers would have done a right of first refusal tender for Pierre it would have cost them $2.627 million. In not giving Pierre the tebder and signing him to this deal, they save a little more than half the amount it would have been had they offered the tender. In looking at Pierre’s current contract and factoring in roster displacement, he will count less than half a million dollars on the current salary cap.

As a reminder, there are still no precise details to Isaac Seumalo’s three-year contract. Although I believe the cap number may come in closer to $3.44 million, I’m going to use my safe estimate of $4 million until the exact amount is reported.

UPDATE: On Friday morning, both OTC and Spotrac now have Isaac Seumalo’s contract. As expected, the first year is coming in under a $4 million cap hit. The structure ended up being a $1.3 million base salary and a $6.95 million bonus. This has Seumalo’s cap number for 2023 as $3,616,666. Seumalo has a base salary of $7.875 million in 2024 and $6.875 million in 2025. After the roster displacement already taken into account, Seumalo’s change in the salary cap is only just under $2.75 million.

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: Reported $4 million; After displacement*: -$2.740582 million
ADJUSTMENT (Dead money clarification): +$0.49333 million
James Pierre: Reported $1.3 million; After displacement*: -$0.401911 million

Approximate salary cap space: Approximately $10.8 million

*The salaries displaced by these two contracts were $874,000 (Jaylen Warren), $876,084 (Calvin Austin III), and $898,089 (Mark Robinson)

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 (OTC), the Steelers are $10,809,992 under the salary cap and has all the above contracts. Because of this, we have the exact same number.

Another credible salary cap website is, which has the Steelers at $11,008,085 under the cap. Spotrac now has the above contracts and has added the two other contracts they were missing in Tae Crowder and Jamir Jones. But Spotrac does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap at this time and their dead money amount is incorrect.

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 $3.4 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 as much as an additional $13 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.