The Steelers created some breathing room on Tuesday, but their salary cap situation remains bleak even after cutting a veteran starter.
The Steelers saved $4 million from their 2021 salary cap obligations with the release of starting inside linebacker Vince Williams on Tuesday, a move that created a dead cap charge of just over $3.03 million.
With Williams off the books, the Steelers were able to agree to a new two-year contract with pending free agent tackle Zach Banner. The deal is worth $9.5 million and will count for $3.15 million toward the team’s 2021 salary cap.
The combination of moves, along with roster displacement, leaves the Steelers with approximately $3.16 million in salary cap room, according to Steelers Now calculations and salary data from OverTheCap.com.
While the team remains in the black ink, the Steelers will need to clear more space to complete their offseason business. The signing of the team’s draft class, practice squad and adding the 52nd and 53rd players to the rolls will take at least $10 million in salary cap space.
To create more room, the Steelers can restructure the contracts of kicker Chris Boswell and defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Those moves would clear approximately $5 million in salary cap space, which is not sufficient to complete the team’s offseason business, let alone sign any further free agents.
The Steelers can also create space by extending the contracts of players such as cornerbacks Joe Haden and Steven Nelson and guard David DeCastro and pushing 2021 salary into those extensions. Unlike restructuring, which is generally very player friendly, the players would have to agree to an extension to help save the team money.
The Steelers could also release more players, including the above listed group.
Fourteen Steelers players remain unrestricted free agents, including Williams, backup outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi, punter Jordan Berry, starting running back James Conner, starting wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and backup defensive tackle Chris Wormley.