While I was looking over the Pittsburgh Steelers' current salary cap numbers for the 2015 season, I couldn't help but take a glance at the 2016 numbers. The numbers are actually looking pretty good for the organization in the future, which is strange for Steelers fans as they are more familiar with a tight cap situation rather than having room to maneuver, but more on that later.
One of the surprises I found was the impending contract of inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons. Timmons, Mike Tomlin's first draft pick of his tenure with the Steelers, is coming off his first visit to the Pro Bowl and has shown no sign of slowing down as he gains more experience on the field.
Why would he be a potential cap-casualty in 2016? Two main reasons why this could potentially happen. First, Timmons' cap hit soars in 2016 to $11.8 million dollars due to the repeated renegotiating process with Timmons and the Steelers' front office. Second, the Steelers actually have the most depth on their roster at the inside linebacker position. With the return of Sean Spence and the constant improvement shown by Vince Williams, the Steelers have flexibility at the ILB position.
Could a combination of Spence and Williams equate to the production Timmons has put on the field year after year? That is a tough nut to crack, but Spence showed he is more than capable of filling into a starting position in 2014 as he filled in for injured Ryan Shazier.
The Steelers very well could give Timmons a contract extension which could lessen his cap number in 2016 and keep him in a Steelers uniform for years to come, but for once, they have flexibility at the ILB position which makes one wonder if the organization sees this as a chance to move on.
No one is saying Lawrence Timmons isn't a great player, a great Steeler and a good person. Rather, looking at this as a business decision, the Steelers could easily make a case for his departure after the 2015 season.