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Steelers Up Against Salary Cap Entering 2023 Offseason



Steelers Omar Khan Salary Cap
Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Omar Khan watches the team go through drills during practice at NFL football training camp in the Latrobe Memorial Stadium in Latrobe, Pa., Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the 2023 offseason with a bunch of their own players, especially on the defensive side of the ball, that are about to his free agency.

Starters Devin Bush, Terrell Edmunds, Larry Ogunjobi, Robert Spillane and Cam Sutton and key reservers Zach Gentry, Damontae Kazee and Derek Watt are all set to hit the free agent market on March 15 if the Omar Khan and company aren’t able to sign them to contracts beforehand.

The only problem is that the Steelers are broke. Well, technically, they’re not broke. But they don’t have any available salary cap space. 

The cap has not been officially set for the 2023 season, but estimates out of the last league meeting pegged the number at $225 million. With that as a baseline, according to Steelers Now calculations based on data from the NFLPA and Over the Cap, the Steelers have about $1.7 million in currently available salary cap space.

When it comes to functional cap space, as in the amount that the team could actually spend between now and the start of the season, the number is more dire, as they are more than $20 million in the hole. 

Steelers Cap

The Steelers will carry over some salary cap space from 2022, so if the league cap is set at $225 million, their cap figure for 2023 will be about $229.4 million.

Their current top 51 contracts, which are all that count in the offseason add up to $222.3 million. The Steelers have $5.3 million in dead money already on the books for 2023 from moves they made last season. Add those up and you can see that things are looking bleak already.

There are also some things that we know that are set to happen that we can calculate ahead of time. Cam Sutton’s contract will void the week after the Super Bowl, moving him off the Top 51, and turning his signing bonus in to a dead cap charge. The Steelers will have to pay approximately $850,000 in offseason workout bonuses.

Then there’s the rookie class. Because of the NFL’s slotting system, we know about  what the Steelers’ rookies will make, and they will add approximately $3.7 million to the offseason cap total.

Then when it’s time for the regular season to roll around, the Steelers will need to put the final two players on the books, from 51 to 53, sign a practice squad, and have money left over for in-season contingencies.

Of course, the Steelers have many ways to create salary cap space, and Khan’s specialty before becoming general manager was balancing the team’s salary cap. They’ll get it figure out, but right now, it does not look like a free agent free-for-all is in the cards for the Steelers this offseason.

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Dan Tarr
Dan Tarr
January 25, 2023 6:51 pm

12 million for Jackson right off the bat and 5 million for Witherspoon

January 25, 2023 7:24 pm

Cut Mitch, WJIII, Ahkello & Kendrick and that saves $25mill. Renegotiate Myles down from $11mill to about $5 or $6 mill. Problem solved. Can always renegotiate TJ & Boswell for more space.

Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers
January 26, 2023 3:59 am

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Last edited 2 days ago by Steve Rogers
January 26, 2023 8:36 am

They have a lot of stuff to play with, however. They could fill two needs in free agency and still keep people like Cam Sutton, Terrell, Spillane, etc (yes Spillane is great depth). Lots to work with. They aren’t going to pay Cam Heyward 22M this year either, that will be renegotiated. I think this article is lazy. Yes as it stands right now, without moves or adjustments to the the cap/roster they are up against it – that is a fact. But you know darn well Omar is going clear some space. Write and extra paragraph or two next… Read more »

Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
January 26, 2023 3:05 pm

as a true Steelers fan, this is why I keep saying the N.F.L. draft is cheaper and better than signing somebody else free agents so now Steelers Omar Khan will and shuold let most of the free Steelers players walk hopefully the Steelers will get a lot of compensatory picks in 2024

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