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The Steelers salary cap situation heading into the 2023 NFL league year

Now that the cap number and rollover adjustments have been made official, the amount of cap space the Steelers have in 2023 can be determined.

New York Jets v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The start of the 2023 NFL league year is just over a week away. Kicking in at 4 PM on Wednesday, March 15, all teams must be under the salary cap by that time. In order to be able to get to this number, teams must first know what their official salary cap is for this coming season.

Earlier this year, the 2023 salary cap was set by the NFL at $224.8 million which is $16.6 million higher than 2022. With increased TV revenue on the horizon as well as being the final year recovering from the 2020 season, the 2024 salary cap could see another large bump this time next year.

Now that the number is known for this coming season, exactly where do the Steelers stand when it comes to the salary cap? What are all the other factors involved to determine how much space the Steelers will have when the legal tampering period begins next Monday at noon?

Unfortunately, the number is not as simple as $224.8 million. The Steelers also have rollover from the 2022 season where they did not use all of their salary cap space and is credited to them in 2023. This week, ESPN’s Field Yates reported the final adjusted rollover for all 32 teams.

Another number which contributes to the salary cap is where the NFL sets aside workout bonuses paid to players if they participate in offseason programs. This money comes out of a team’s salary cap, but any that is unused will be credited back, typically during training camp.

Once all these numbers are known, it comes down to the top 51 salaries of players currently under contract for the Steelers which count towards the current salary cap. Additionally, any dead money from players must also be subtracted.

With all these things explained, here are my current numbers for the Steelers 2023 salary cap. These numbers also mostly align with (OTC) which I use as the main source for players’ salaries with the exception of the dead money which is more accurate with

Steelers 2023 Salary Cap Space

2022 Salary Cap: $224,800,000
Steelers rollover: $4,427,145
Workout bonuses: -$849,600
Total Cap: $228,377,545

Top 51 salaries: $221,256,913 (OTC)
Dead Money: $8,522,144 (Spotrac)
Total costs: $229,779,057

Current cap space: -$1,401,512

This number comes in as a deficit greater than both OTC and Spotrac. The OTC salary cap number is missing about half a million dollars in dead money compared to Spotrac and is currently -$908,182. As for Spotrac, their value of $-328,887 does not include the player workout bonuses and also has some differences in contracts. For example, there is a difference of about $13k in William Jackson‘s cap hit between the two websites while both Alex Highsmith and Kevin Dotson each have a difference of just under $1k.

As the offseason rolls on, if you read any of my future salary cap articles I start off with the estimated cap space which I will be using as -$1.4 million. The reason I prefer to keep the salary cap estimated is because of small differences in specific dollar amounts in reported contracts which don’t really become a big factor in when looking at the big picture of the salary cap.

So with the Steelers needing to save a little salary cap space, they can make one move by releasing William Jackson III and save over $11 million after roster displacement. After making some cap-saving moves, the Steelers should be in the market to add either their own potential free agents or outside players next week. As the Steelers salary cap space changes with any adjustment to the roster, stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued updates.