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Steelers at risk of underspending in 2016

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A simple and probable solution is signing a quarterback outside of Landry Jones to start next year.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the Steelers consistently toeing the line of salary cap compliance, it's odd to consider them one of the league's lower spenders.

According to USA Today and the NFLPA, heading into 2016, that's where the Steelers are.

Writes USA Today reporter Tom Pellisero:

According to numbers compiled last week by the NFL Players Association, nearly one-third of the league's clubs are below the minimum cash spending floor for the four-year window from 2013 to '16, and those teams will have to make up the difference at a time the salary cap is rising.

The collective bargaining agreement states teams must spend at least 89 percent of the salary cap over two different time periods - 2013-16 and 2017-20. The NFLPA reports the Steelers have spent and are slated to spend a total of 88.3 percent.

Failure to abide by that rule will result in teams under the threshold paying the union the difference. The union then gets to allocate those funds to retired players, or current players who were affected, according to Pelissero.

Not to fear. Such donations are likely not in line for the spendy Steelers, who currently do not have Ben Roethlisberger under contract for the 2016 season. According to Over the Cap, they also only have 26 players signed for 2016, but have $84.6 million already scheduled to be spent on contract.

Defensive end Cameron Heyward is also unsigned for 2016, just like right guard David DeCastro and left tackle Kelvin Beachum. In fact, going over the roster heading into 2016, it would appear another offseason full of fan-fueled cap strife awaits the team.

As for other more thrifty franchises, like the Oakland Raiders, they can expect to be heavily active in free agency both this year and next. The Raiders must increase their salaries upwards of $30 million over the next two years, depending on the final salary cap numbers, which likely won't be released until right before the start of the league year March 10.