When it was released last week the Pittsburgh Steelers had the 4th worst salary cap situation in the NFL, according to ESPN, fans immediately went off on several different tirades on a lot of topics. Most wanted to air their grievances against Kevin Colbert and the front office, while many bemoaned the yearly hope for the salary cap to increase to give the Steelers some breathing room before the new season begins.
Nonetheless, there are a lot of intricacies with the salary cap, and especially how the Steelers meander their way through the woods on a yearly basis. Players can be released, players can re-structure their current contract and some might get new contracts to make their current salary cap number for the new season less than what they would be if they didn't get their new deal.
When it comes to the salary cap, I am no expert. I know the basics and that is about to extent of my expertise. However, one thing I do know is to trust the Steelers' front office when it comes to the salary cap.
While most view the Steelers' ongoing cap issues as simply kicking the proverbial can down the street and never picking it up, the team of Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan have been wonder boys when it comes to moving money around to make the team in compliance with NFL policies. Do they create the space for the team to go out and be big-time spenders in free agency? No, but the Steelers have never done business that way and show no signs of starting now.
For the Steelers, several moves will likely need to take place for them to simply free up enough space to entertain free agent players on the open market. First, will be the yearly re-structuring of contracts to help alleviate some salary cap space. Here are the Top 5 cap hits heading into 2016, per OverTheCap.com:
1. Ben Roethlisberger - $23,950,000
2. Lawrence Timmons - $15,131,250
3. Antonio Brown - $12,370,833
4. Maurkice Pouncey - $10,551,000
5. Cameron Heyward - $10,400,000
It is safe to say at least a few, if not all, of the above players could re-structure their current contracts to help give the team some wiggle room, even with the projected salary cap increasing almost 10 million dollars next year. The team could also cut ties with a player like Cortez Allen to save themselves almost 4 million heading into the new calendar year.
There are a lot of ifs, coulds and shoulds when it comes to the team's current cap situation, but if you've followed the team for any amount of time, you should know to trust the process and realize the Steelers are never is as dire straits as many predict.