The Pittsburgh Steelers are continuing to shape 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 update, the Steelers made a couple changes to the 90-man roster. The Steelers released Scott Nelson and Anthony Miller and signed Rex Sunahara and Nick Kwiatkoski. Although Miller would have been paid more because he had a Veteran Salary Benefit contract, his cap hit was only $940k and therefore did not have to be one of several in that group that was in the top 51 versus those that are just outside. The same is true for the addition of Nick Kwiatkoski as his contract will pay him $1.165 million but because it is a Veteran Salary Benefit contract it only counts $940k against the salary cap, the current amount which is being displaced. As for Nelson and Sunahara, they both had league minimum contracts with no signing bonus.
When it comes to the Steelers draft picks who signed on Friday, their salary cap hit had already been estimated with the dollar amount not really negotiable other than the amount of guarantees in future years. Broderick Jones signed a four-year, fully guaranteed contract which has a league minimum $750k base salary this season and a $9.0919 million signing bonus. Prorating the bonus over four seasons, it counts $2,272,975 each of the four seasons giving him a salary cap hit in 2023 of $3,022,975. Jones salary cap number increases approximately $750k each year over the four years.
For Keanu Benton, his four year deal includes some guaranteed money into the third season which is the first time this has happened in the NFL for a draft pick selected at 49 or later. Benton will have $113,332 guaranteed during his third season. For 2023, Benton has a base salary of $750k and received a $2,333,180 signing bonus. With the bonus prorated out each year at $583,295, Benton‘s cap number for this year is $1,333,295. In each year of Benton‘s contract, his salary cap number goes up approximately $333k each year.
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: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Luq Barcoo: Reported $0.94 million; After displacement+: -$0 million
Mason Rudolph: Reported $0.94 million; After displacement+: -$0 million
Ahkello Witherspoon: Saved $4 million salary; After displacement: +$3.06 million
Dylan Cook: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Mitch Trubisky: Saved $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
Marcus Golden: Reported $1.0925 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525 million
Scott Nelson: Salary not in the top 51: +$0
Nick Kwiatoski: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Rex Sunahara: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Anthony Miller: Salary not in the top 51: +$0
Keeanu Benton: Reported $1.333295 million; After displacement+: -$0.393295 million
Broderick Jones: Reported $3.022975 million; After displacement+: -$2.082975 million
Approximate salary cap space: Approximately $12.77 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?
According to overthecap.com (OTC), the Steelers are $13,249,924 under the salary cap. OTC has everything I have listed above but they did not subtract the money from Renell Wren going on IR. This is because his salary is not in the top 51 at this time, but it will count for the Steelers throughout the season. Otherwise we have the same amount.
Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $12,303,432 under the cap. Spotrac has Wren’s full contract counting against the cap instead of the split contact amount. Also, 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 until those players are officially released.
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. Joey Porter Jr. still needs to sign and it will cost just over $800k after displacement. 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.