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How Much Salary Cap Space Did Steelers Save by Cutting Patrick Peterson?



Pittsburgh Steelers CB Patrick Peterson Salary cap
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson celebrates an interception against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers made some significant salary cap savings with the release of veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson on Friday.

Peterson’s release cleared his $6.85 million salary for 2024 from the team’s rolls while incurring a $2.925 million dead cap hit. After roster displacement, the move netted the Steelers a little over $6 million in additional salary cap space before the start of free agency on Monday.

Peterson was a productive player for the Steelers in 2023, appearing in 97% of the team’s defensive snaps, while playing outside cornerback, slot cornerback and safety. But his elevated cap hit heading into his 34-year-old season was likely a concern for the Steelers. Slot cornerbacks and safeties, which is where Peterson projects to spend more of his time going forward, don’t make as much as outside cornerbacks, and the safety free agent market is historically deep this offseason.

RELATED: Steelers Could Take Advantage of Historic Safety Free Agent Class

After the move, the Steelers have about $16.4 million in 2024 offseason salary cap space, according to Steelers Now‘s estimate.

That number can be misleading. Before the start of the 2024 regular season, they will need to pay workout bonuses, sign their rookie class, account for the 52nd and 53rd players on the roster, sign a practice squad, account for players on the injured reserve and leave space for in-season acquisitions. All told, the Steelers likely need to clear another $9.5 million or so from their 2024 salary cap commitments.

They have several avenues of achieving that savings, as the team can cut, restructure, or extend the contract of several veteran players, including Cam Heyward, Allen Robinson II, Larry Ogunjobi, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Alex Highsmith.


Functional 2024 cap space (est.) -$3,574,202 T.J. Watt $30,418,694
Cam Heyward $22,406,250
Estimated 2024 NFL salary cap $255,400,000 Minkah Fitzpatrick $21,355,000
Steelers 2023 salary cap rollover $2,340,191 Diontae Johnson $15,833,334
Steelers 2024 salary cap (est.) $257,740,191 Alex Highsmith $13,933,000
Larry Ogunjobi $13,283,333
Top 51 salaries $228,419,713 Allen Robinson II $11,917,500
Dead cap hits $12,924,653 James Daniels $11,166,668
Isaac Seumalo $10,191,666
Offseason cap space (est.) $16,395,825 Cole Holcomb $7,640,000
Nate Herbig $5,460,000
Draft pool $3,232,827 Chris Boswell $4,720,000
End of rule of 51 $1,830,000 Elandon Roberts $4,667,500
Practice squad (est.) $4,000,000 Najee Harris $4,151,460
In-season buffer/injured reserve (est.) $10,000,00 Damontae Kazee $3,875,000
Workout bonuses (placeholder) $907,200 Kenny Pickett $3,836,701
Broderick Jones $3,778,719
Dan Moore Jr. $3,235,000
Joey Porter Jr. $2,185,988
Pat Freiermuth $1,918,057
George Pickens $1,841,506
Keeanu Benton $1,666,619
DeMarvin Leal $1,414,608
Darnell Washington $1,216,798
Isaiahh Loudermilk $1,135,072
Calvin Austin III $1,111,084
Nick Herbig $1,083,231
Denzel Mims $1,055,000
Connor Heyward $1,023,806
Mark Robinson $1,013,089
Jaylen Warren $989,000
Jonathan Marshall $985,000
Kyron Johnson $985,000
Luq Barcoo $985,000
Dez Fitzpatrick $985,000
Marquez Callaway $985,000
Thomas Graham Jr. $985,000
Josiah Scott $985,000
Spencer Anderson $934,446
Devery Hamilton $915,000
Jeremiah Moon $915,000
Jalen Elliott $915,000
Trenton Thompson $915,000
Darius Rush $915,000
Rodney Williams II $915,000
Ryan McCollum $915,000
Kalon Barnes $915,000
Nate Meadors $915,000
Dylan Cook $915,000
Cory Trice $816,109
Tyler Beach $795,000

Salary figures from Steelers Now sources, the NFLPA, and