Not only did the Pittsburgh Steelers get a quality outside linebacker to be their third man at the spot in free agent Markus Golden, they got him at a significant bargain, as well.
The contract will fit within the NFL veteran benefit rule, so Golden will earn a $1.65 million salary and $152,500 signing bonus, while counting for just over $1 million against the cap.
The singing, when combined with the release of reserve inside linebacker Tae Crowder from just before the start of OTAs, was essentially a net zero for the team’s salary cap situation.
According to Steelers Now calculations based on data from Over the Cap, the NFLPA and other sources, the club now has $199.39 million in offseason salary obligations, Combined with $13.25 million in dead money, one player on the injured reserve list, and workout bonus payments, the Steelers have approximately $15.26 million in offseason salary cap space.
However, the team has significant expected expenditures that will occur between now and the start of the 2023 season. The club still must sign its top three selections from the 2023 NFL Draft in Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr. and Keeanu Benton.
The Steelers will also have to account for the final two players added to the roles, as only 51 count against the cap in the offseason but all 53 count during the season. The Steelers will also need to sign 16 players to their practice squad, account for players that are added to injured reserve between now and the start of the season, and leave themselves with a buffer to make moves during the season.
When accounting for the team’s future expenses, as well as current situation, the Steelers actually are just about $5.1 million over their expected salary cap number.
The team has plenty of ways to cut salary cap space, including releasing veteran players, signing players to extensions and restructuring contracts. The club can clear over $29 million in 2023 cap space by restructuring the deals of T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, Diontae Johnson and Chukwuma Okorafor, so the current status being in the red is far from a catastrophe. But restructuring those contracts will come with a downside in future seasons.