Every year NFL owners and general managers try to plan for the next football year. Doing so requires teams to be cognizant of where the current cap is, how they fit beneath it and how high the cap might be inflated the following year. Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and team president Art Rooney II both have stated they are banking on the cap increasing in 2016, and early reports state this will happen.
#NFL GMs and cap guys have been told by league office to expect the 2016 cap to come in between $147M to $155M.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) December 1, 2015
As reported by Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the NFL have been notifying general managers to expect the 2016 cap to range from $147 million to $155 million next season. The current salary cap is $143.28 million dollars, so the projected increase next year could be as little as $4 million, or as steep as $12 million dollars.
Any increase in the cap allows teams to spend more on re-signing players, bringing in free agents and extending players currently on the roster to keep a cohesive team together.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Steelers 2016 salary scale looks as if the team will be right around the projected mark reported by Jason Cole with $144 million spent. This certainly can change quickly, as Cortez Allen makes up over $5 million of that number and Jacoby Jones would account for $3 million towards the cap. The biggest change in the 2015 Steelers and the projections of 2016 is the dead money carried by the team. In 2015, the Steelers have over $18 million dollars tied up in dead money. Those still getting paid by the Steelers include LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, Josh Scobee and Wesley Johnson. In 2016, that number decreases to a little over $765 thousand in dead money, although that will change if, and when, players get released.
Expect the Steelers to be right around the cap next year, as it is the team's policy to do all they can to get close to the cap. Look for players like Heath Miller, Lawrence Timmons and Antonio Brown to talk about re-structuring their deals to decrease the cap hit on their current contracts. Some view it as simply kicking the can down the street, while it has become business as usual for the Steelers organization.