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The salary cap implications of Shaun Suisham's retirement from the Steelers

Steeler fans wave goodbye to Suisham with his release and subsequent retirement, will the release push the Steelers into a salary cap bind?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Long time Pittsburgh Steelers' kicker Shaun Suisham was released early Friday morning with a failed physical designation. Adam Caplan reported the release was due to a setback in his recovery from a torn ACL he suffered against Minnesota during the 2015 preseason, trying to make a tackle. The setback was serious enough that Suisham decided to retire from the NFL, thus ending his 11-year career. The injury to the six-year Steelers veteran virtually assures Chris Boswell to resume his role as the starting kicker for Pittsburgh in 2016, but the question many Steelers fans might be asking is how this will effect the Steelers' perilous cap situation.

Cap savings will not be substantial for 2016, but any cap relief is beneficial. Suisham was scheduled to make $2.4 million in base salary for 2016. The base salary will not be paid and wiped from the salary cap books. What does have to be paid is the prorated bonus that is left on the contract from his signing bonus and the 2015 contract rework. The rework was done after his season-ending injury to free up cap space for the 2015 season. This cap space was never needed and carried over to 2016. Approximately $1.625 million was converted from the base salary into a signing bonus that was prorated over the remaining years of the contract.

As the bonus has been paid, and the release occurred after June 1, the bonus for this year, $1.103 million, is applied to the 2016 cap. This would lead fans to think that there would be a savings of $2.4 million in cap savings, but this is not factually true. When a player is released, another player takes his place on the top 51. While it does not matter technically who the player is, Boswell's salary is $525,000. Turning true cap savings into $1.875 million. The 2017 and 2018 prorated bonus money, $2.206 million does escalate against the cap in 2017, as dead money. Suisham was signed through 2018, but cap implications no longer have an impact for that year. While there is $1.875 million in cap savings for 2016.

Boswell is an exclusive rights free agent in 2017, so he will remain a cheap commodity for the next two years for Pittsburgh, which will help alleviate any burden from what remains of Suisham's contract.  As an ERFA in 2017, Boswell will count $480,000 against the salary cap