One of the most cap-strapped teams in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers could be getting some much needed financial breathing room heading into next season.
Team officials around the league reportedly believe the 2021 salary cap could be higher than previously anticipated, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The NFL and NFLPA began preliminary negotiations last month on the 2021 salary cap, which some believe will end up higher than expected. It’s one of several key issues as the sides brace for another unusual offseason, with Super Bowl LV days away.https://t.co/PrdNKWIap5— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 4, 2021
The NFL and NFLPA had agreed on a $175 million salary cap minimum ahead of last season, with pandemic-related losses to be dispersed over multiple years, but optimism is growing that it could reach $185 million or higher.
Exactly how those losses will be spread over subsequent years has not yet been determined.
According to Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, an exact cap number may not be known until “hours before the start of the league year” on March 17.
Pelissero writes it is more realistic clubs will find out the figure a few days prior to the free agent negotiating period beginning on March 15.
A greater-than-expected salary cap would be a godsend for the Steelers, who have a number of key contributors set to hit free agency this offseason, including slot corner Mike Hilton, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and cornerback Cam Sutton, not to mention quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s massive cap hit.
Not only would it provide them critical flexibility in attempting to resign those valuable free agents, but an increase could also allow Pittsburgh to address holes along its aging offensive line.