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.
There have been a lot of players coming and going since the last salary cap update. The Steelers added several players who are not in the top 51 salaries such as Alfonzo Graham, Manny Jones, Dylan Cook, and Toby Ndukwe. Additionally, there are not reports yet for salaries of Hakeem Butler and Luq Barcoo but they are not expected to land in the top 51. Also, the Steelers released running back Master Teague who was not in the top 51 salaries so it made no bearing on the salary cap.
In a move that did affect the salary cap, Renell Wren was placed on the Reserve/Injured List (IR). According to OTC, he is listed as having a split salary and therefore costing $475k while on IR.
The Steelers also released several players who helped with the salary cap. Ahkello Witherspoon saved the Steelers $4 million against the cap from his release which ultimately netted $3.06 million after displacement. Both Tae Crowder and Emeka Egbule had a salary of $1.01 million each which saved $70k apiece towards the salary cap.
Another move which saved the Steelers significant salary cap space was the contract extension for Mitch Trubisky. Although the official numbers have not been reported by either of the major salary cap sites, it is estimated that he is saving the Steelers just over $4.6 million for 2023. For now, I am going with this figure as an estimated value until an official report becomes available.
One last move of note that will affect the Steeler salary cap is the signing of Mason Rudolph. Although we know it is a one-year deal, Rudolph’s exact salary in not known at this time. It’s possible the Steelers could have used the Four-Year Player Qualifying Contract similar to what Terrell Edmunds received for 2022, but the amount would be less because the Steelers use some of the allotment for tight end Zach Gentry. With so much unknown for what Rudolph‘s contract could be, it is the one piece of the puzzle not being factored in to my salary cap estimate at this time.
Remember the top three picks of the 2023 draft class have not been signed at this time and therefore do not count against the salary cap. A complete rundown of what the cost of the 2023 draft class was estimated to be can be seen here:
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+: -$0.07 million
Tanner Muse: Reported $1.01 million; After displacement+: -$0.07 million
Allen Robinson: Reported $3.0825 million; After displacement+: -$2.1425 million
Chandon Sullivan: Reported $1.0925 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525 million
Arthur Maulet: Saved $2.75 million; After displacement+: +$0.85 million
Cory Trice Jr.: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Spencer Anderson: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Nick Herbig: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Darnell Washington: Reported $0.973438 million; After displacement+: -$0.033438 million
Alfonzo Graham: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Manny Jones: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Renell Wren: Injured reserve salary: -$0.475
Hakeem Butler: NO REPORT, Salary not expected to be in the top 51: -$0
Luq Barcoo: NO REPORT, Salary not expected to be in the top 51: -$0
Mason Rudolph: NO REPORT
Ahkello Witherspoon: Saved $4 million salary; After displacement: +$3.06 million
Dylan Cook: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Mitch Trubisky: Saved ESTIMATED $4.613334 million; No displacement: +$4.613334 million
Toby Ndukwe: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Tae Crowder: Saved $1.01 million salary; After displacement+: +$0.07 million
Emeke Egbule: Saved $1.01 million salary; After displacement+: +$0.07 million
Master Teague: Salary not in the top 51: +$0
Approximate salary cap space: Approximately $15.4 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 $11,265,360 under the salary cap. OTC does not have the Mitch Trubisky restructure and they did not subtract the money from Renell Wren going on IR despite reporting it. Otherwise we have the same amount.
Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $10,318,866 under the cap. Spotrac does not have the extension for Mitch Trubisky but they also have Wren’s full contract counting against the cap. Spotrac does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap and their dead money amount is incorrect as they have a dead cap hit for Joe Haeg. 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. As outlined above, the Steelers will begin signing the rest of their draft picks and are estimated to need $3.4 million in cap space once figuring roster displacement now that the exact draft selections are known following the draft. But remember, the Steelers won’t need this amount until the additional players sign. 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.