Steelers kick the can with Polamalu, Miller

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Yes, the Steelers extended the contract of safety Troy Polamalu and tight end Heath Miller.  Yes, it means that the Steelers won’t be cutting either guy.

But it doesn’t mean either guy will be around after this year.

For now, Polamalu and Miller aren’t getting any more money on their contract extensions. As explained by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, these extensions are glorified restructurings, aimed at adding years into which 2014 cap dollars can be dumped.

As to Miller, $3.3 million in cap space was created. As to Polamalu, $4.5 million has been cleared. The $7.8 million saved now will hit the cap in future years.

Next year, the Steelers will have to decide whether to keep Polamalu at a cap number of $8.25 million or dump him and absorb a cap charge of $4.5 million, which would be split between 2015 and 2016 if Polamalu is designated as a post-June 1 release. For Miller, the question will be whether to carry a $7.5 million cap number or eat $5 million (or $2.5 million in 2015 and 2016).

While Bouchette suggests that Miller and Polamalu each “took one for the team,” the real question is whether another team would have paid Miller $6 million and/or Polamalu $8.25 million in 2014. It’s tampering for other teams to show their potential intentions regarding players under contract elsewhere, but it’s good business for the players’ agents to inquire.

Moving forward, the only inquiry will be whether these new three-year deals are anything more than one-year cap fixes aimed at keeping a couple of the franchise’s faces around for another season.

17 responses to “Steelers kick the can with Polamalu, Miller

  1. They are both quality players that are still better than 90% of the league at their positions, so yes, they are worth the expense for this year.

  2. I understand the love for Polamalu and the inability to accept that he is nothing like the player he used to be. I was the same way with Brian Dawkins. But to the guy with no emotional attachment to Polamalu, I say without hesitation the Steelers are better off moving on from him.

  3. But next year they are going to have a lot more cap room than this year, so they can absorb those future cap hits even easier than this year or kick the can further down the road. They will just keep these players for as long as they can and end up spending more for payroll than they otherwise would have if they moved on earlier.

    And it will take longer for them to rebuild or find new young faces of the franchise while they spend this extra cash. Doesn’t make sense unless you have a qualified opportunity to win the Super Bowl and I just don’t think this team is going to be in a position to set that up for a long time since they have been on a bad path for quite a while now.

  4. Polamalu is a coach on the field. They would be wise to draft his replacement and let him learn from Troy this season before he’s a cap casualty next year.

  5. In the end 31 other teams are GLAD they haven’t been put in cap hell by a front office that has the foresight of ENRON & fans that can ‘t let go like a teenage girlfriend.
    Good Luck Pittsburgh, 2014 is gonna be Hell……2015 & beyond is gonna be worse than that !

  6. The Steelers show the rest of the league how to do it. Super Bowl bound. And so even the naysayers have to look two years into the future to find a downside, instead of seeing success staring them straight in the face.

  7. Better to say good bye a year early than a year too late. Pitt in uphill battle next season.

  8. The Steelers made the right decision keeping Polamalu and Miller but not without their help, Polamalu’s presence and his leadership on the field remain very effective and so does Miller when healthy, Polamalu will retire as a Steeler and will coach on the sideline as well as he’d coached by making calls on the field.

  9. As far as I’m concerned, this is fair market value for these two players who have been injured in recent years and not getting any younger. Very smart move by the Steelers to restructure and I’m very happy these two players understood their real value and were willing to restructure for the team. Well done by everyone.

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