It seems to be a yearly occurrence when the Pittsburgh Steelers salary cap situation is brought up, it is quickly followed by how horrible it is. When dead money from LaMarr Woodley's bogus contract finally came off the books, fans were excited about the thought of having some money to spend.
Then 2015 happened, and a slew of injured players carried settlements which hurt their current salary cap situation. How bad is it now? How about in the bottom 5 according to an ESPN Insider report. Of the 5 teams listed, the Steelers were 4th on the list. See what they had to say about the team's ongoing salary cap crisis:
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
$155.9 million in cap commitments for 2016
The Steelers don't have a laundry list of roster needs. Getting healthy is the primary focus, and from a free-agent standpoint, there are only a few names of significant note. (Left tackle Kelvin Beachum and cornerback William Gay are among those who come to mind.)
Pittsburgh locked up quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last offseason and has wide receiver Antonio Brown under contract for three more years; running back Le'Veon Bell has one year left on his deal and could be an extension candidate. So although the Steelers are heavily invested already in 2016, it's for good reason -- the core of the roster is set to return.
The Steelers do have the core of their roster set to return in 2016, but the cap pinch they find themselves won't make extending, or re-signing, some of those players to new contracts any easier. Look for players like Lawrence Timmons, Heath Miller, Ben Roethlisberger and possibly Antonio Brown to re-structure their current contracts to help alleviate some of their cap stress.
Nonetheless, fans should prepare for another cap strapped offseason where few free agents are actually entertained, and the focus will be on bringing in solid talent via the 2016 NFL Draft.
ESPN.com's Top 5 worst salary cap situations:
1. Miami Dolphins: $166.9 million in cap commitments for 2016
2. Buffalo Bills: $166.3 million in cap commitments for 2016
3. New England Patriots: $159.1 million in cap commitments for 2016
4. Pittsburgh Steelers: $155.9 million in cap commitments for 2016
5. New Orleans Saints: $155.2 million in cap commitments for 2016