The Pittsburgh Steelers have needs to fill and players they’d like to retain, but the way their salary cap stands, they don’t really have the means to do so.
In his first offseason as the Steelers’ general manager, Omar Khan has his work cut out for him if he wants to create opportunities. Does restructuring existing contracts appeal to him?
“I think it’s part of the process and if the opportunity is there, yeah,” Khan said earlier this week at the NFL’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. “I’d love to tell you that we’re never going to do that, but it’s just part of the process. It’s there. It’s an opportunity for us. If there’s an opportunity to create cap room, if that’s how we do it, then we’ll do it.”
Defensive starters Devin Bush, Terrell Edmunds, Larry Ogunjobi, Robert Spillane, and Cam Sutton will join the free-agent market in less than two weeks if the Steelers can’t ink them to new pacts before then.
“We’re obviously in better shape than we’ve been in the past, where we’ve had to get pretty — I don’t really like to use the word ‘creative’ — but had to do some things,” Khan said. “We’re comfortable that if there’s the opportunity to improve our team with someone, we can make things happen and sign. There’s nothing holding us back.”
T.J. Watt restructured last year — opening up $6.75 million in space not long before the season started — and could be a candidate to do so again this time around. Minkah Fitzpatrick is another that could help out and a full reorganization of his deal would net over $10 million to use.
Guard James Daniels, defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, and offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor are other names that could restructure.
Khan specialized in balancing the Steelers’ salary cap before taking his current post. It’s not just free agency he has to worry about, though. He’ll need to put together a practice squad and put aside money for any needs that may come about in-season.
Aside from moving current deals’ numbers around, there are a few players the team could cut loose to create money. That group includes quarterback Mitch Trubisky, linebacker Myles Jack, and cornerback William Jackson III.