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Steelers Salary Cap Update after Queen Signing, Johnson Trade

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan is stilling sitting on a fairly large pile of cash after the first day of 2024 NFL free agency.



Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Omar Khan didn’t make a ton of moves on the second day of the free agent contact period on Tuesday, but the ones the Pittsburgh Steelers general manager made were big ones.

Khan signed free agent linebacker Patrick Queen from the Baltimore Ravens, and got the 2023 All-Pro at a very low price. Queen’s three-year, $41 million deal has just $13.8 million guaranteed and his salary cap hit in 2024 is only $6.1 million.

The Steelers then traded Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers for cornerback Donte Jackson. That move will cost them about another $500,000 in cap space, though the team will likely find a way to re-negotiate Jackson’s contract, as it did with Allen Robinson II after acquiring him in a trade last year.

With the moves made, we can re-calculate how much Steelers general manager Omar Khan has to work with entering the third day of free agency. After Tuesday’s moves, the Steelers have about $17.9 million in 2024 offseason salary cap space, according to Steelers Now‘s estimate. That’s down from $23.7 million on Tuesday morning.

That number can 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.

After being above the red line in our last two salary cap estimates, the Steelers once again will have some work to do to get salary cap complaint before the start of the season after Tuesday’s moves. They are functionally $1.8 million over the 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, Alex Highsmith, and not to mention the recently acquired Jackson.

Khan could pretty comfortably still sign another $7-$10 million worth of commitments in 2024 without having to make any uncomfortable salary cap moves.


Functional 2024 cap space (est.) -$1,813,367 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 $219,126,936 Donte Jackson $10,522,500
Dead cap hits $20,675,486 Isaac Seumalo $10,191,666
Cole Holcomb $7,640,000
Offseason cap space (est.) $17,937,769 Patrick Queen $6,113,333
Nate Herbig $5,460,000
Draft pool $3,013,936 Chris Boswell $4,720,000
End of rule of 51 $1,830,000 Elandon Roberts $4,667,500
Practice squad (est.) $4,000,000 Najee Harris $4,151,460
In-season buffer/injured reserve (est.) $10,000,00 Damontae Kazee $3,875,000
Workout bonuses (placeholder) $907,200 Kenny Pickett $3,836,701
Broderick Jones $3,778,719
Dan Moore Jr. $3,235,000
Joey Porter Jr. $2,185,988
Cameron Johnston $2,083,333
Pat Freiermuth $1,918,057
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
Isaiahh Loudermilk $1,135,072
Calvin Austin III $1,111,084
Nick Herbig $1,083,231
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
Breiden Fehoko (est) $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
Kalon Barnes $915,000
Dylan Cook $915,000
Jalen Elliott $915,000
Devery Hamilton $915,000
Nate Meadors $915,000
Ryan McCollum $915,000
Jeremiah Moon $915,000
Darius Rush $915,000
Trenton Thompson $915,000

Salary figures from Steelers Now sources, the NFLPA, and