The Pittsburgh Steelers are continuing to add to their roster for the 2023 season. 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, The Steelers have added three players and released one. I referred these moves as “minor” not because of the value of the players on the field but by the amount their salaries count against the salary cap.
First up is Armand Watts who signed a veteran salary benefit contract. Being paid $1.08 million as a base salary, Watts salary will only count $940k against the salary cap. Watts also has the maximum $152,500 signing bonus. Adding these numbers together, Watts has a salary cap hit of $1.0925 million for 2023.
The next move the Steelers made was quite curious as they released a Jamir Jones. The release of Jones, whose salary was $940k, gives the Steelers no salary cap relief as it only brings back an equivalent salary cap hit into the top 51.
The Steelers claimed punter Braden Mann off of waivers on Friday. By claiming him off waivers, the Steelers inherit his current contract. For this reason, Maan will cost $1.01 million against the salary cap in his final year of his rookie deal according to Spotrac.
On Friday, it was also reported the Steelers signed linebacker Tanner Muse to a one-year contract. Even though the deaal was officially announced on Monday, the details of his contract are not known at this time.
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
Le’Raven Clark: Reported $0.99 million; After displacement*: -$0.081194 million
Zach Gentry: Reported $1.232 million; After displacement+: -$0.2925 million
Keanu Neal: Reported $1.54 million; After displacement+: -$0.6 million
Breiden Fehoko: Reported $0.94 million; After displacement+: -$0 million
Armon Watts: Reported $1.0925 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525 million
Jamir Jones: No cap savings: +$0 million
Braden Mann: Reported $1.01 million; After displacement+: -$0.07million
Tanner Muse: No Report
Approximate salary cap space: Approximately $9.6 million
*The salaries displaced by these four contracts were $874,000 (Jaylen Warren), $876,084 (Calvin Austin III), $898,089 (Mark Robinson), and $908,806 (Connor Heyward).
+The salaries displaced by these contracts are $940,000.
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 $9,683,798 under the salary cap and has all the above contracts except Braden Mann. Other than this, we have the exact same number.
Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $9,773,085 under the cap. Spotrac does have the contracts outlined above at this time. Spotrac does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap and their dead money amount is incorrect. Additionally, Spotrac counts the potential dead money hit for players not in the top 51 even though it does not need to count against the 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 $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.