After Steelers general manager Omar Khan stated on the Pat McAfee show on Thursday they were finishing a contract extension for backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky, it was only a matter of time until the deal was made official. On Friday, the Steelers announced the signing of Trubisky to a new three-year deal.
So with this new contract, how does it affect the Steelers 2023 salary cap? Until the exact financials are known, the savings is merely speculation. Even if it is speculation, there are ways to estimate what the Steelers could possibly save this season.
First off, Trubisky’s previous deal had him counting $10.625 million against the salary cap this season prior to his new contract. This former deal consisted of an $8 million base salary and a $2.625 million prorated signing bonus from when he came to the Steelers last season.
First and foremost, that $2.625 million is not going anywhere and will count on the 2023 salary cap. The only other factor is how the contract is broken down otherwise.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, who originally reported the deal as a two-year extension rather than a new three-year contract, the total payout came out at $19.4 million with a potential of $33 million based on playing incentives.
The #Steelers gave QB Mitch Trubisky a 2-year extension which means he’s now under contract for 3 years and $19.4M, sources say. Including upside, Trubisky can earn a total of $33M over the length of the contract. A solid payday for a valued part of the QB room. https://t.co/NSiSKZu5cD— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 18, 2023
With Trubisky not expected to be the starter in Pittsburgh, I’m going to operate under the assumption that any incentives fall in the “not likely to be earned” category which means they do not count on the salary cap unless they are earned and then count towards the following season.
Another item of note is the difference between a two-year extension and a new three-year contract. With an extension, the money for the final year generally stays in place other than being shifted into signing bonus and then years are added on accordingly. If it is a new contract, then the amount owed could fluctuate up or down for the first year rather than just adding on to the end of things. For now, I’m not going to really worry about the difference between these two based on another report.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, via an article published by Brooke Pryor, Trubisky has $8 million of his contract guaranteed.
Mitchell Trubisky's new deal with the #Steelers guarantees his full 2023 payout of $8 million, per source.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 19, 2023
Here's more on the signing, via @bepryor https://t.co/C4vhqrXvCq
Based on the varying information, I’m ready to give an estimated maximum salary cap savings Steelers could see from extending Mitchell Trubisky. Please note that this is both an estimate and looking at the maximum savings based on those estimates.
With the $8 million Trubisky was set to earn in 2023 being reported as the same amount of guaranteed money, I’m going to assume that this makes up his base salary and signing bonus for the season. In essence, this will act the same as doing a full restructure for Trubisky if he had two years remaining on his contract. Although the Steelers haven’t necessarily done their contracts this way since Omar Khan took over the reins as GM (see Minkah Fitzpatrick’s contract), I’m going to calculate things as if they are trying to save the maximum amount. Therefore, Mitch Trubisky‘s base salary for 2023 will be the league minimum for his years of service of $1.165 million. This leave the remainder of the $8 million, which is $6.835 million to be exact, as a signing bonus.
Spreading out the signing bonus over the three years of Trubisky’s deal, the prorated bonus would be $2,278,333 each year (with one extra dollar the third year based on rounding).
Taking all these into account— the base salary, the previous prorated bonus, and the new prorated bonus— Trubisky‘s new salary cap number looks to have the lowest possible value of $6,068,333. Based on this value, the estimated maximum salary cap savings for Trubisky’s new deal comes in at $4,556,667.
So if you’re someone who roughly keeps track of the salary cap, I would estimate a savings between $4 million and $4.5 million. Remember, there is no account for roster displacement because Trubisky neither moved into or out of the top 51 salaries for the Steelers.
In the coming days, hopefully we will get some more precise numbers when it comes to Trubisky’s deal. When these come through, as well as the numbers for Steelers signing such as Mason Rudolph, Luq Barcoo, Hakeen Butler, and Dylan Cook, look for a salary cap update article here at Behind The Steel Curtain.