When the Steelers embarked on their cap-slashing exercise earlier this year, nose tackle Casey Hampton was at the top of the list. Unlike one of the various players who restructured contracts and ultimately gave up no money (and unlike Hines Ward who was cut without negotiation), Hampton took a significant pay cut in order to stay with the Steelers for at least one more year.
Specifically, Hampton dropped his salary from $4.89 million to $2.8 million. He also gave up a $1 million workout bonus.
Finalized on March 13, the contract replaces the three-year deal Hampton signed on February 26, 2010. The move reduced Hampton’s cap number from $8,056,668 to $4,966,668. (He’s still carrying a $2,166,668 proration from his signing bonus.)
It also means that the Steelers need to focus on the nose tackle position quickly, via free agency or the draft. Chris Hoke has retired, and Hampton is rehabbing a torn ACL.
No portion of the $2.8 million base salary is guaranteed; Hampton could still be cut before Week One of the 2012 season, and the Steelers would clear out even more cap room.
A potential replacement to watch next month is former Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still.