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A View on How the Steelers Will Deal with the Salary Cap Issues in 2012

Football Outsiders is out and doing Division by Division looks at the salary cap and how it affects each team around the league.

To see about the entire AFC North – click HERE

Here’s the Steelers breakdown, and some of the background on how they think things will play out for the team.

Estimated Cap Space: Around $12 million over

Unrestricted Free Agents (11):
Charlie Batch, Jerricho Cotchery, Dennis Dixon, Trai Essex, William Gay, Chris Hoke (retired), Byron Leftwich, Anthony Madison, Mewelde Moore, Daniel Sepulveda, Max Starks

Restricted Free Agents (7): Ramon Foster, David Johnson, Doug Legursky, Keenan Lewis, Jamon Meredith, Ryan Mundy, Mike Wallace

David Johnson, Ryan Mundy, Ramon Foster, Doug Legursky and Keenan Lewis can expect, at minimum, an original round tender worth $1.26 million in non-guaranteed base salary.

Franchise Tag Candidate: One season after ranking first in receiving DYAR and DVOA, wide receiver Mike Wallace ranked fifth and eighth in those statistics in 2011. With the elimination of the “first- and third-round” tender in the new collective bargaining agreement, a team in need of a wide receiver could target Wallace if the cost is only a 2012 first round pick. It’s worth noting that two teams in need of a deep threat at wide receiver are the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots, both of whom are armed with cap room and an additional first round pick, so the Steelers may have no choice but to construct a bigger fence around Wallace by placing the projected $9.5 million franchise tender on Wallace.

Potential Cap Casualties/Restructures: The Steelers have already cleared around $18 million from the cap by restructuring the contracts of Ike Taylor, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons (Following these links to see the details of the Woodley and Timmons restructures). Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison both restructured their contracts to free up cap space last August. Doing so again could potentially free up another $8 million of cap space, which helps, but still won’t get the Steelers far enough under the cap to be able to tender offers to their restricted free agents.

Other restructure candidates include Troy Polamalu ($9.1375 million cap number), Casey Hampton ($8.057 million cap number in final year of his contract), offensive linemen Willie Colon ($5.7 million cap number) and Chris Kemoeatu ($5.262 million cap number), and Hines Ward. Ward is due $4 million in base salary and has a $4.61 million cap number in 2012. Outright releasing Ward would free up $3.39 million of cap space, but Ward is open to restructuring his contract and lowering his cap number. Pittsburgh would likely seek to reduce their cash commitment to Ward, so a reworked contract would certainly be incentive-laden.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Charles Spooner

    February 17, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    if the browns want to give up the number 4 pick in the draft for Wallace, i say take it!

    • George H

      February 18, 2012 at 11:34 am

      I hear that… I would in turn trade the 4 pick for multiple 1st round picks and rebuild that way. However that scenario is highly unlikely.

      • davis

        February 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm

        If you I to trade mike wallace ( the fastest player in the NFL) then I would send him to a team thats not in the division but is piking in the top ten in the draft. You do not want to let a team like the ravens get this guy!

  2. Pingback: A View on How the Steelers Will Deal with the Salary Cap Issues in 2012 | Pittsburgh Steelers | News, Forum, Photos, Highlights, Scores, Schedule, Blogs, Mock Drafts

  3. Peter

    February 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Not sure we need to rebuild.

    • The Tony

      February 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      I believe he was implying that we need to get younger, or solidify the offensive line. We have many needs this offseason and three first round picks would be essential to the upgrading

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