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The Steelers Moving Money to Win Now, Possibly Pay Later

For those that are wondering just how the Steelers are going to manage the salary cap over the next year even as they play ball in 2012 and get set for 2013, Jamison Hensley at ESPN writes about how the team is looking to “win now,” and how they could have more serious trouble in 2013 as they will have three potential unrestricted free agents – Wallace, Mendenhall and Miller.

What it boils down to is this: The Steelers got themselves out of cap jail today by handcuffing themselves in the future. These moves are putting pressure on the Steelers to win now.

“As a former cap manager in the NFL for 10 years, I know that if you want to make something work for one year, you can,” ESPN NFL business analyst Andrew Brandt said. “It’s just a question of how much pain are you pushing off to the future.”

The first real pinch will come in 2013, when the Steelers could be anywhere from $10 million to $15 million over the cap depending on the limit next year. Add that to having three starters on offense becoming unrestricted free agents: wide receiver Mike Wallace (if he doesn’t go elsewhere this year as a restricted free agent), running back Rashard Mendenhall and tight end Heath Miller.

Pittsburgh will have to either find cap room to re-sign these players, look for cheaper replacements in free agency or hope someone already on the roster can take their spots. Plus, wide receiver Antonio Brown becomes a restricted free agent in 2013, so the Steelers could be facing another Wallace situation all over again with a limited budget. It looks like there will be tougher decisions in 2013 than this year.

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. Pingback: The Steelers Moving Money to Win Now, Possibly Pay Later | Pittsburgh Steelers | News, Forum, Photos, Highlights, Scores, Schedule, Blogs, Mock Drafts

  2. DrGeorge

    February 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I mentioned the same concern here about a month ago when the restructuring began. Sooner or later, the pain of the deferred payments catches up with you, financially. But Hensley is talking about the cap (not the Steelers’ finances) in this article. Previously, I assumed (not having a copy of the bargaining agreement) that the cap went up automatically with revenues. Hensley seems to suggest that isn’t so.

    Does anyone know when or if the cap adjusts? And how?

  3. Steelfan

    February 29, 2012 at 4:49 am

    They restructured with people that they anticipate will be on the roster beyond 2012.Omar Khan knows what he’s doing. This season is the year they replace Mendenhall and I’m sure Miller will be a high priority re sign with management because he is a Steeler type player they love. No need to worry SteelerNaton

  4. Steve Geddes

    February 29, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Mr.Miller is another Steeler that shows us why we love the Black & Gold.

  5. Mark

    February 29, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I have a simple solution based on the title of the article. Ready…. “WIN NOW!!” We can worry about 2013 in 2013. If the Steelers can annex 1 or 2 titles in that span, I’m sure we will all be o.k with the decisions the team will make then.

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