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Breaking down the Steelers salary cap numbers prior to training camp

The Pittsburgh Steelers are just weeks away from their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, and we update the team’s salary cap numbers heading into 2017.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It is the doldrums of mid-summer and Pittsburgh Steelers news is about as stagnant as the Pirates’ pennant hopes. Do not fear, though, as here is a riveting article regarding the Steelers’ salary cap. Figured it was best to get it out before the season premiere of Game of Thrones. The BTSC faithful should not have to choose between seeing how the Steelers sit regarding the salary cap and what lies next with Daenerys and her dragons.

OK, time to get serious. The Steelers are sitting in their best position in years regarding cap space. Pittsburgh is sitting on $15,0667,448 of salary cap space, according to Over the Cap. However, there are still expenses that need to come out of that total.

As the figure only accounts for the top 51 players on the roster, two more players need to be accounted for on the final roster of 53. (There is no rhyme or reason as to why only the rule of 51 applies and the other two players do not have to be accounted for in the offseason.) The two additional players will account for between $930,000 and $1.1 million. Cap space could grow if players currently in the top 51 are cut prior to the start of the season. The NFL minimum for two players is $930,000, while Eli Rogers and Tyler Matakevich are the 52nd and 53rd-highest-paid players on the 90-man roster.

The 10-man practice squad (PS) will be set prior to the start of the season and will account for more than $1.15 million. The actual figure will be higher, though, as some players will be paid more to ensure they remain with the Black and Gold. The minimum salary for a player on the PS is $7,200 per week for a total of $115,200 over the course of the 17-week season. PS players are also paid weekly for the playoffs, too, which could add another five weeks to their salaries. It would not be too surprising to see the Steelers have to pay out close to $2 million for the PS.

The Steelers also still have to account for $619,200 in offseason workouts. In reality, this figure will not be quite that high. Each player on the 90-man roster gets $215 a day for each of the 32 formal workout sessions. Pittsburgh will not carry 90 players every day, nor will every player take part during every session. The unused cash will be credited toward the salary cap before the start of the season and used as carryover money.

Pittsburgh has a history of carrying over $3 million to $4 million each season for use in the next season. The amount is also used as a buffer for injuries and even sometimes to retain PS players who may be poached.

So, in all reality, that $15 million figure is misleading and should not be taken at face value. Around $7 million would be a more realistic current cap space total.

Will Bell sign a long-term extension before another main character is killed off in Game of Thrones? The excitement builds!