Connect with us

Steelers News

Florio: ‘No Coincidence’ Steelers Cleared Cap Space Before NFL Draft

Mike Florio believes it was no coincidence that the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up clearing cap space, and he believes they could look to land a star WR.



Pittsburgh Steelers WR Brandon Aiyuk
49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk celebrates after a touchdown, Sept. 11, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers have restructured the contract of outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, saving the team over $7 million in 2024 salary cap space on Wednesday. But could that be a signal of other things to come?

With a full restructure of Highsmith’s contract, the Steelers will save $7.206 million against their 2024 salary cap obligations. The savings will be spread out over the remaining three years of his deal. Highsmith had been set to count for $13.9 million against the Steelers’ cap this season, $16.2 in 2025, $17.7 in 2026 and $18.7 in 2027. Now, he will count for $6.7 million this season, $18.6 million in 2025, $20.1 million in 2026 and $21.1 million in 2027. But Mike Florio believes the restructuring signals something coming.

The Steelers don’t have an immediate need for the savings, with the team already having over $12 million in offseason salary cap space, but such a move seemed inevitable at some point this offseason. They could also be gearing up to add someone to the roster with a large 2024 salary cap hit, such as a trade for Brandon Aiyuk or another receiver.

They could look into other players, such as Courtland Sutton. Sutton has spent all six of his NFL seasons in Denver. Nearing the end of his rookie contract, Sutton signed a new four-year, $60.8 million contract with the Broncos in 2021.

Sutton has two years remaining on that deal. He is set to make $13.6 million this season and $14 million next season before becoming a free agent in 2026. Only $2 million of that salary this season is guaranteed, and none in 2025.

He would have come with a pricey cap hit, expensive enough that the Steelers would have needed to move around some chairs on the cap hit board. But now, they can comfortably trade for Sutton if they wish.

The Steelers have been in the market for a wide receiver since trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers in March. They’ve struck out on free agents Mike Williams and Tyler Boyd, missing on Williams, who signed with the Jets, and reaching a negotiating impasse with Boyd.