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Steelers have several other candidates for creating cap room

Hines Ward AP

As pointed out late last night (or possibly early this morning), the Steelers have created $11.7 million in cap space by restructuring the contracts of linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons.  But they reportedly needed to clear more than $25 million.

So where will the other $13 million come from?

Based on a review of base salaries published by the NFLPA, several players could face not just a restructuring (which cost Woodley and Timmons none of their money) but a pay cut or an outright release.

Here’s a list of the large Steelers salaries that could be trimmed down, one way or another:  tackle Willie Colon ($4.5 million); linebacker Larry Foote ($3 million); nose tackle Casey Hampton ($4.89 million); linebacker James Harrison ($5.565 million); guard Chris Kemoeatu ($3.577 million); quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ($11.6 million); offensive lineman Jonathan Scott ($2.2 million); defensive end Aaron Smith ($2.1 million); and receiver Hines Ward ($4 million).

Ward has said he’d be willing to take a pay cut to stay with the team.  He may have to make that decision sooner rather than later.

For any players who are released, the base salary and other 2012 compensation that the Steelers would avoid would have to be compared to any acceleration resulting from past signing bonuses.

Get used to the return of such concerns.  Under the 2006 CBA, most teams stayed far enough under the cap to avoid these concerns.  In 2010, there was no salary cap at all.  Starting in 2012, multiple teams could be playing a salary cap shell game in order to hold teams together now, even if it means having to eventually cut players they want to keep or refrain from signing free agents they covet.

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51 Responses to “Steelers have several other candidates for creating cap room”
  1. ravenfan820 says: Feb 10, 2012 7:22 AM

    Sounds like poor cap management to me….

  2. mancinibread says: Feb 10, 2012 7:29 AM

    Steelers had better do the right thing by Ward…I mean it Mr. Rooney!

  3. jtm12180 says: Feb 10, 2012 7:44 AM

    I coincidentally posted on another site about 24 hours before news broke that the Rams were after Omar Kahn, that this is exactly why he’s priceless for the Steelers!

    The guy is an absolute wizard when it comes to the cap issues. He needs to be paid like an assistant coach, if not more!!!

  4. dubaradhandi says: Feb 10, 2012 7:45 AM

    Lets see how many team handle this as effectively as pats and be successful year after year.

  5. patcheatiots says: Feb 10, 2012 7:57 AM

    GoodBye Hines Ward

  6. istuppingyourwhiteewe says: Feb 10, 2012 8:05 AM

    are PFT camped in heinz field today?

  7. jharmon64 says: Feb 10, 2012 8:08 AM

    Ward is probably the easiest decision there. He’s gotta go or get a sharp haircut on his salary.

  8. ravenator says: Feb 10, 2012 8:16 AM

    Wow I guess this is why Ozzie is the best in the game. Kahn is screwing with the future success of this organization, like I care though hahaha.

  9. cshearing says: Feb 10, 2012 8:22 AM

    Yeah, Ward will have to accept the veteran minimum to stay, I would think. I think Foote and Colon are the best bets to be cut.

  10. steelerdynasty2010 says: Feb 10, 2012 8:28 AM

    3 steeler topics in a row…good form PFT!

    Kemoeatu, it was fun…good luck in FA

    restructure Ben a lil bit, Hines already knows the deal, as should Aaron Smith. Smith should stay for the vet minimum because he’s been paid for not much over the last TWO years, so i think the team’s been more than fair, or they could just outright cut him, which wouldnt disappoint me as much as it would have last year.
    i really dont see hampton coming back from that acl injury. rehab isnt going to be fun at age 34 and carrying 3 bills. they call him “big snack” so……
    tough and interesting choice with Colon though.

  11. theravens1 says: Feb 10, 2012 8:33 AM

    . . . and they think its the next best thing to the fountain of youth . . . :-)

  12. rexismybff says: Feb 10, 2012 8:34 AM

    Kind of hard to justify paying Colon, Kemoeatu, and Scott a combined $10 million next year to keep Roethlisberger running for his life, injured, or flat on his back.

  13. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 8:36 AM

    It is amusing seeing all the Steelers bashers come out of the woodwork hoping and praying that their success comes to an end. Keep hoping tho because its not. The Steelers go through similar cap situations every year and every year they do just fine. Only a few teams in the league do what the Steelers can do cap-wise.
    Kemo and Smith are def done, that’s roughly 5.5M, Ward even if they keep him @ 1M would take another 4M off the cap so that’s 9.5M right there, then they will restructure a couple more vets and wa-la Khan does it again.
    Go Steelers!

  14. tedmurph says: Feb 10, 2012 8:37 AM

    @jtm12180:
    Maybe you were being sarcastic and I didn’t get it. This thread is about the steelers being in cap jail because of their cap guru/wizard. They are faced with releasing players they may want and not being able to go out and get players they may need. Even with restructuring, you’re really just borrowing cap money from later years, kicking the problem down the road.

  15. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 8:37 AM

    and I forgot Colon, he will be cut which would take another 4.5M off the cap.

  16. myspaceyourface says: Feb 10, 2012 8:38 AM

    Trai Essex $2 million
    Charlie Batch $900 k
    Hines Ward $3 million
    Max Starks $800 k
    Casey Hampton $5 million
    Bryant McFadden $2.6 million
    Aaron Smith $4.5 million
    Chris Hoke $800 k
    Dan Supulveda $610k

    Total $20.2 million right here

    I’ve been posting this for days. Foote and Farrior are possible options too.

  17. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 8:48 AM

    They are not borrowing cap money from future yrs… wow.
    They are loading them up on the signing bonuses now (which don’t count against the cap) and paying less later. This is why the players are willing to do this because they get more money NOW.

  18. 84sgl says: Feb 10, 2012 8:49 AM

    Loyalty has proven to be both positive and negative over Tomlin’s run in the burgh. But seeing these coaching and hopefully roster changes is encouraging.. Then again, you cannot say they mis-managed the cap if they have one of the top winning percentages in the league year after year after year. They just have to loosen up and know when to let go of some guys..

  19. buzzedlitebeer says: Feb 10, 2012 8:50 AM

    ……..the expectation is that the cap will increase in future years absorbing the restructured contracts.

  20. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 8:50 AM

    And yes the Steelers have some tough choices to make but that is the result of a talented team that competes every year. Ur crazy if u think they are done. If anything they are only going to get better.

  21. joe6606 says: Feb 10, 2012 8:55 AM

    I know that as a result of the new CBA at some point the cap is going to substantially increase.

    What year does that happen?

    And why wouldnt it be advantageous to restructure all contracts to push cap hits to the future, where there will be much more flexibility with the higher cap??

  22. Mike Florio says: Feb 10, 2012 8:56 AM

    @toegoat . . . .

    That’s not correct. The Steelers are using accounting tricks to reduce cap numbers in 2012, and they’re pushing the cap charges into future years. The players get a large chunk of their salary/roster bonus now, but their total compensation for the current year typically doesn’t change.

  23. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 9:04 AM

    Regardless the Steelers will be just fine next yr and yrs after, the Steelers ownership/front office is second to none.

  24. steelerfanjo says: Feb 10, 2012 9:14 AM

    Cut the old guys and move on.

  25. quittsburghstoolers says: Feb 10, 2012 9:14 AM

    4 million dollars for Whines Hard?

    There’s an easy cap cut right there…

  26. dennis2488 says: Feb 10, 2012 9:26 AM

    they make their cap number higher for later years and then they just release them later with a minimal cap hit but have to pay the money. in any event it always comes back to bite teams.

  27. imopen7 says: Feb 10, 2012 9:35 AM

    Its not poor cap management until its too late. Omar Kahn is the man and will figure it out. Statement you will NOT hear during any Steeler’s broadcast next season: “I think the cap cuts really hurt them this year”. non-issue.

    Cap Mgmt+Omar Kahn=yaaawwwnnnnn.

  28. tedmurph says: Feb 10, 2012 9:37 AM

    Sorry toegoat you don’t understand how the cap works. The roster bonuses counted fully on this yrs cap. They were converted to signing bonus which are spread out over subsequent yrs. They still have to ‘pay the piper’. The other prob is the steelers need help in a lot of areas(OL,CB). Even if they barely get under the cap, the’ll have no $ to spend in free agency.

  29. vegaskid21 says: Feb 10, 2012 10:02 AM

    I think those are good owners who are at the cap limit. Means they don’t mind spending money for a successful season, UNLIKE the Tampa Bay Bucs….

  30. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 10:10 AM

    Tedmurph
    the salary cap is going to rise significantly over the next few yrs so deferring money until then doesn’t really hurt them.
    on another note the Steelers are not worried about the “piper” only wishful thinking fans of other franchises are.

  31. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 10:17 AM

    Also 2 positions are not really a lot of areas. They are not bad off with the corners they have anyways… so keep hating on the Steelers because its a popular thing to do.

  32. rmm1984 says: Feb 10, 2012 10:30 AM

    This is not poor cap management at all. They are in the running for the superbowl nearly every season and will get under the cap without cutting a single player that is in his prime. I hope they keep using this strategy because obviously it has worked.

  33. wvucolumbus says: Feb 10, 2012 10:32 AM

    “Let’s see how many teams handle this like the Pats and continue to be playoff bound”

    Get over it. If Tom Brady played for the Steelers, we would have won EVERY single Super Bowl since 2001. It wouldn’t have even been close. It has NOTHING do do w/ the Krafts, Belicheat or the other aspects of the team.

    Tom Brady is the best QB, EVER. And it isn’t even close. No one compares to that level of sustained success w/ those receivers. This is not a great organizations. Belicheat is not a supreme coach.

    The New England Patriot organization and their fans should count themselves lucky that they have the golden ticket. The Steelers (and Ravens for that matter) have shown that they can sustain success with an entire team whose QB isn’t nearly as good as Brady.

  34. tedmurph says: Feb 10, 2012 11:09 AM

    @toegoat:
    Get a hold of your raging paranoia, I’m not trying to hate on your blessed team or wish them to fail. I’m a Pats fan(who are 20-25mil under the cap), I have no reason to be jealous of the steelers. However, once again you don’t know what you’re talking about. The cap is not going up signifigantly in the next few yrs, due to the new CBA. The 2011 cap was less than 2009. the 2012 cap will be only slightly higher. In 2013 and beyond floor spending kicks in, so the cap ceiling won’t go up much. And if you want to deny the steelers need some help in areas due to age and ineffective play, well ok. Most objective people would disagree. While they must get under the cap, it’ll be hard to find any $ to address those needs. Hope you enjoyed the education, sonny.

  35. ahostiletakeover says: Feb 10, 2012 11:11 AM

    I’m a Ravens fan, but the Steelers will be fine as long as they address their o-line and secondary early in free agency / the draft, which they usually do a solid job of. Now that said, when in Jonathan Scott’s career has he ever been worth more than the veteran minimum? Easily the worst o-lineman the Steelers have and he’s making 2.2 mil this year? Unreal

  36. beerbaron says: Feb 10, 2012 11:21 AM

    wvucolumbus says: Feb 10, 2012 10:32 AM

    “Let’s see how many teams handle this like the Pats and continue to be playoff bound”

    Get over it. If Tom Brady played for the Steelers, we would have won EVERY single Super Bowl since 2001.

    It makes me so happy right now to remind Steelers fans that you drafted Tee Martin in the 5th round of the 2000 draft — 36 picks before Brady went to the Pats.

    It’s also fun to remember that prior to ’07 the knock on Brady (mostly from Colts or Manning backers) was he only wins because of Belichick’s defense. Now it’s the other way around? Let’s give Belichick some credit for developing Brady and having the guts to play him over the highest paid QB in NFL history at the time.

  37. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 11:27 AM

    So ur telling me that even though league revenue is going to increase significantly via the new mega tv deals that the cap isn’t going to raise???? that’s weird

  38. zeedoubleyou says: Feb 10, 2012 11:32 AM

    toegoat

    Signing bonuses absolutely count against the cap; they are just amortized proportionately across the entire length of the deal.

    If a player signs a 5 year deal with a $15 million signing bonus, the cap charge for the signing bonus will be $3 million per year. If the player gets cut after one year, the remaining $12 million will then immediately count against the cap in year two even though the player is no longer on the roster.

    There’s no way around it. Every dollar that a team pays out to its players will count against the cap at some point.

  39. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 11:54 AM

    @ZW
    We already established that, ur a Lil late to the party.

  40. samoanjungle says: Feb 10, 2012 11:57 AM

    Wow, Harrison only gets 5.5 mil? I doubt he gets a haircut.

  41. 3mzito says: Feb 10, 2012 12:01 PM

    I will not claim to know everything about the cap room for my beloved Steelers…they definitely have some serious numbers to crunch. I can ‘toegoat’ that the Pats have done a tremendous job of managing the cap, and it all began with getting Brady in Round6 of the draft, setting the table for their franchise over the past decade. But the Steelers will figure this out…even I can point out the obvious cuts that unfortunately/fortunately have to be made…clearing cap space to be under by $15.07mm (and this without including a few other restructuring of deals such as Farrior.) Here we go: Release – Foote (3.0) Colon (4.50) Hampton (4.89) Kemo (3.58) Smith (2.10) Ward (4.0) Essex (2.0) McFadden (2.60) Batch (.90) Hoke (.80). This leaves them with some room to hopefully bring in a SOLID LT. Draft talent up front on D-Line, to add to the already young talent brought in the past few years. Will have to give the D-Backs another year with some of the young guys that will now be in their 3rd seasons…draft here also, but focus moreso on next years draft in this area. I am counting on individuals like Sylvester being able to step up game at LB on the inside. Steelers down years are missing the SB, always will be in playoff hunt as long as BBen is around. Only a few Franchise QBs in the league anyway, we are lucky to have one. DBs and RBs are not becoming as important in today’s NFL, concentrate moreso on O-Line and D-Line as the mantra still stands “it all starts up front” but only if you have a franchise QB. Look at the Giants, may not be the best team, but when it counts, can run the ball, can pressure the QB. Giants DBs are very average, but with being able to pressure with 4, it makes it very difficult for any offense, just ask the surgeon Brady.

  42. packerjer says: Feb 10, 2012 12:06 PM

    The Steelers may indeed be competitive for years to come, but make no mistake about it, they are buying on credit on these restructured deals, and they will be at a monetary disadvantage relative to most other teams in future years.

    Signing bonuses DO count against the salary cap. Every cent, whether that player plays out the contract or gets cut tomorrow. By converting a roster bonus or large salary to a signing bonus, they’re just deferring those costs to the future.

    As others have said, eventually the bill must be paid.

  43. Deb says: Feb 10, 2012 12:40 PM

    Work out a paycut with Hines. Restructure Roethlisberger and Harrison. Please dump flag-magnet Kemoeatu and Colon–an overrated, overpaid lineman who hasn’t played in two years. Smith should be retiring. If Hampton isn’t ready to retire, like Hines, he should be willing to take a paycut. Foote and Scott can take a cut or go.

    We’ve got to have cap room to sign some real talent onto that offensive line and shore up the defense. And I’d like a more reliable kicker.

  44. tedmurph says: Feb 10, 2012 1:13 PM

    @toegoat:
    There is a new TV extension that kicks in after 2013, buy the revenue is not making a big jump as it did w/past Tv contracts.

    @3mzito:
    Don’t forget, cutting guys doesn’t always make the $ just disappear from the cap, it depends on the contract. I not sure of steeler contract situations, but as an example, I believe(don’t feel like looking it up) Hampton signed a 3yr deal w/ about 11mil sign bonus through 2013. His bonus would have prob been spread out, 3.7/yr for 2011/12/13. If they cut him they would save his salary, but take a 7.4 mil cap hit this yr.for bonus owed 2012/13.

  45. steelerdynasty2010 says: Feb 10, 2012 1:29 PM

    @beerbaron:
    and it makes me so happy to remind you Pats fans that you got LUCKY with brady. EVERYONE passed on him, including your team for 5 rounds. if you were such geniuses and knew this was coming, you would’ve drafted him in the first round and started him immediately, so get over yourselves. he was a shot in the dark and you hit the jackpot…….
    secondly, the fans didnt draft anyone, the team did. we didnt stage a “draft tee martin” sit in at the team facility…

    people, i’m not sure if you know this or not, or you just want to bash us in the offseason, when everyone’s an expert fortune teller, but we go through this just about every year. people get restructured and we get under the cap and compete for a championship. but hey, nothing keeps hope alive like hatred and jealousy.

  46. paulbrown46 says: Feb 10, 2012 2:43 PM

    They better have other candidates. They are $11 million under water.

  47. stairwayto7 says: Feb 10, 2012 3:18 PM

    Foote, Hampton, Ward and Chris Kemoeatu cut and Steelers will eb good!

  48. toegoat says: Feb 10, 2012 3:47 PM

    @ steelerdynasty2010
    Well said, finally someone with some sense on here.

  49. tedmurph says: Feb 10, 2012 6:24 PM

    @steelerdynasty2010 ;
    Everyone that’s good gets some unexpected hits in the draft, whether you want to call it luck or good scouting. Where do you think ABrown, Keisel and Harrison came from?

  50. bunkmcnulty says: Feb 10, 2012 8:36 PM

    I used to believe the Steelers had a fairly bright fanbase. But a few of you know nothing about cap management, revenue sharing, the new CBA, and the impact the restructures have in future years. Not trying to be mean but denial seems to permeate the sentiment I read. Good luck with this strategy, it’s not sound.

  51. steelerdynasty2010 says: Feb 13, 2012 9:42 AM

    @tedmurph:
    agreed, but i dont think you can compare harrison, brown, and keisel to picking brady. especially with the delicate nature of choosing a qb. if other position players dont work out, there’s really nothing lost. same would have been said if brady was not as good as he is. he’d be looked at like a throw in pick because of when he was drafted, and he was. look at how many qbs they’ve drafted while he’s (brady) still on the roster.
    again, if they had no doubt he’d be a HOF and 3 time superbowl champ, there’s no doubt they snatch him earlier than round 6 (a compensatory pick btw). where are the rest of the guys they drafted that year? he started his rookie year as the 4th string qb and if not for an unusual decision to carry 4 qbs that year, would have been cut in favor of Michael bishop and some other guy who i dont even think is still in the league.

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