The Pittsburgh Steelers freed up just over $9 million in salary cap space with the retirement of defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt from the NFL on Wednesday.
Tuitt was due $9,048,560 in 2022 salary, that will no longer be paid and will no longer count against the team’s salary cap in the future. The Steelers will not occur any additional dead cap hit in the future from Tuitt’s retirement, but they will have dead money charges of $4.926 million in 2022 and $4.755 million in 2023.
Those charges stem from the prorated portion of the signing bonus that Tuitt received when the signed the five-year, $60 million contract with the Steelers in 2017. He restructured the contract with the team in 2021, creating additional deferred signing bonus charges.
The timing of Tuitt’s retirement on June 1 helped the Steelers. If he had retired before June 1, the team would have had all $9.6 million of his dead cap charges count against the 2022 salary cap.
The Steelers could seek to recoup some of Tuitt’s signing bonus with him not playing out the final season of the contract, but have traditionally chosen not to pursue that path. His contract was set to automatically void after the 2022 season.
With Tuitt’s retirement, the Steelers will have over $21 million in offseason salary cap space according to information from the NFPLA, Over the Cap and Steelers Now analysis.
That figure does not account for the team needing to sign first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett and fourth-rounder Calvin Austin III, the final two contracts to get the team to the 53-man limit which do not count in the offseason, a practice squad or players that may end up on the injured reserve list.
When including all those factors, the Steelers have approximately $5 million in usable salary cap space at this point in the offseason, with the ability to create significantly more through restructuring the contracts of T.J. Watt and/or Cam Heyward and signing Minkah Fitzpatrick to a contract extension.