When the new NFL league year started on March 9th at 4 p.m. EDT, it caused a domino effect to take place in many aspects. Not only did free agency start, but it also meant an increase in the league's salary cap. The salary cap increased over $12 million dollars in 2016, and that combined with the teams' roll over cap space from 2015 left the Pittsburgh Steelers with nearly $11 million dollars in salary cap space to start the league year.
After the team signed William Gay, Robert Golden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Ramon Foster and Ladarius Green, that cap space has decreased significantly.
Steelers currently $3,692,020 under the salary cap (Top 51).— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) March 13, 2016
Before fans stress out about the team's lack of cap space, the team still has a lot of ways to increase that number. First would be to have certain players (Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey) re-negotiate their current contract to help alleviate the salary cap number for 2016. Second would be to give some players (Lawrence Timmons and Antonio Brown) contract extensions which will allow the team to decrease their cap hit for the upcoming year.
The Steelers aren't like the Cleveland Browns or Jacksonville Jaguars, who typically have the most salary cap space remaining, but are a team who will spend as close to the cap as possible. The re-negotiation and extensions have simply become a part of the year-in and year-out business aspect of the current NFL, especially for the Steelers.