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Steelers Salary Cap Update after Lowry, Patterson Signings



Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan HBCU Legacy Bowl Salary Cap
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan before a game against the New England Patriots on Dec. 8, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed five players over the last couple of weeks, adding defensive tackle Dean Lowry and running back and kick returner Cordarelle Patterson to two-year deals and inking wide receivers Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins and quarterback Kyle Allen on one-year contracts.

Now, those contracts have been registered with the NFLPA, and the Steelers’ salary cap situation can again be calculated.

All three of Jefferson, Watkins and Allen signed one-year contracts that are known as veteran benefit contracts. They are designed to give teams a reason to sign veteran players that might be in danger of washing out of the league, but minimizing their cap hit. All three players will have a cap hit $1,525,500 this season, while the Steelers will actually pay them slightly more than that.

Patterson and Lowry both have more significant deals. Lowry’s contract is for two years and $5 million, with a $1.25 million signing bonus. His salary cap hit in 2023 will be $1.825 million. Patterson’s two-year deal has a $1.9 million signing bonus and he’ll have a $2.25 million cap hit this season.

All five of those players displaced players from the Top 51 offseason salaries, which are the only ones that count until the final roster is set in August. So their cap impact will not be equal to their cap figure. The Steelers currently have 74 players under contract for 2024.

As of right now, the Steelers have about $12.2 million in 2024 offseason salary cap space, according to Steelers Now‘s estimate. That’s down from $14.8 million in our last estimate.

That total number can still 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.

The Steelers once again will have some work to do to get salary cap compliant before the start of the season after this week’s moves. They are functionally about $7 million over their salary cap.

The Steelers also have several avenues of achieving further savings, as the team can cut, restructure, or extend the contract of several veteran players, including Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Alex Highsmith.


Functional cap space (est.) -$7.374,584 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 Alex Highsmith $13,933,000
Steelers 2024 salary cap (est.) $257,740,191 Larry Ogunjobi $13,283,333
James Daniels $11,166,668
Top 51 salaries $221,142,016 Isaac Seumalo $10,191,666
Dead cap hits $24,381,069 Cole Holcomb $7,640,000
Patrick Queen $6,113,333
Offseason cap space (est.) $12,217,106 Donte Jackson $6,000,000
Nate Herbig $5,460,000
Draft pool $2,714,490 Chris Boswell $4,720,000
End of rule of 51 $1,970,000 Elandon Roberts $4,667,500
Practice squad (est.) $4,000,000 Najee Harris $4,151,460
In-season buffer/inj. reserve (est.) $10,000,00 Damontae Kazee $3,875,000
Workout bonuses (placeholder) $907,200 Broderick Jones $3,778,719
Dan Moore Jr. $3,540,475
Justin Fields $3,233,448
Miles Killebrew $2,255,000
DeShon Elliott $2,250,000
Cordarelle Patterson $2,250,000
Joey Porter Jr. $2,185,988
Montravius Adams $2,125,000
Cameron Johnston $2,083,333
Pat Freiermuth $1,918,057
Dean Lowry $1,875,000
George Pickens $1,841,506
Keeanu Benton $1,666,619
DeMarvin Leal $1,414,608
Darnell Washington $1,216,798
Russell Wilson $1,210,000
Christian Kuntz $1,163,333
Van Jefferson $1,152,500
Kyle Allen $1,152,500
Quez Watkins $1,152,500
Isaiahh Loudermilk $1,135,072
Calvin Austin III $1,111,084
Nick Herbig $1,083,231
Breiden Fehoko $1,055,000
Denzel Mims $1,055,000
Connor Heyward $1,023,806
Mark Robinson $1,013,089
Jaylen Warren $989,000
Luq Barcoo $985,000
Marquez Callaway $985,000
Dez Fitzpatrick $985,000
Thomas Graham Jr. $985,000
Kyron Johnson $985,000
Jonathan Marshall $985,000
Josiah Scott $985,000
Spencer Anderson $934,446

NOTE: Because the Steelers have registered all of their reported contracts with the NFLPA, the league’s salary cap tracking is currently up to date. The NFLPA says the Steelers have $12,195,998 in cap space. That’s $21,108 more than my estimate, which is completely meaningless in the big picture, but also still bothersome. If anyone smarter than me can figure out where I’m wrong, let me know in the comments.

Salary figures from Steelers Now sources, the NFLPA, and