Pittsburgh has a lot of money coming off the books next year. The contracts of several veteran players are up and some of those players are not likely to be coming back.
Currently (according to Spotrac), the Steelers have $84,880,850 committed to next year’s contracts. While that number has a million caveats next to it right now, we can use it as a starting point. The projected salary cap for the NFL next season is likely to be around $121 million.
This means that, just in raw contracts, the Steelers are well under the cap. But like I said, there are caveats.
Money is rolled over for various reasons; there are charges on contracts that raise the salary commitment of the team. The Steelers are not in as good of a financial shape as they seem.
I would predict another round of restructuring for Ben Roethlisberger ($11.6 million in 2013 according to the above Spotrac chart), LaMarr Woodley ($9 million), Troy Polamalu ($7.5 million) and James Harrison ($6.57 million). I’m going to say the Steelers can free up enough to have around $15 million in cap space for free agents and draft picks.
That’s not much, but the Steelers won’t buy big in free agency anyway. Now let’s take a look at the shopping list for the top four positions of need and who they might be able to bring on board. I’d say one or two of these spots at most will be filled in free agency.