Report: Cameron Heyward Restructures Steelers Contract, Clears $7M in Cap Space

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) walks off the field after a 27-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
Emilee Chinn/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers have restructured defensive lineman Cameron Heyward's contract, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

Per that report: "He'll still make $10.5 million this season. But [his] roster bonus and base were converted to a signing bonus and created about $7 million in cap room."

Heyward, 31, registered 54 tackles (seven for loss), four sacks, 19 quarterback hits and an interception in 15 games this past season. He was selected for his fourth Pro Bowl and is also a two-time first-team All-Pro.  

Restructuring Heyward's contract is the team's first step to get under the salary cap for the 2021 season, whatever that figure ends up being. The minimum cap is set at $180 million. The next will be determining the future of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. 

Per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the Steelers are already facing a "minimum reckoning of $22.25 million related to past cap hocus-pocus" with Big Ben's contract. He continued:

"Even if he reduces his compensation from $19 million all the way to the league minimum of $1.075 million, he'd consume $23.325 million in cap space. As previously outlined, an extension that converts his pay over $1.075 million into a signing bonus allows Ben to get his $19 million while keeping the cap number at $26.73 million—assuming a three-year extension."

It's likely that a few more restructures will come for several of Pittsburgh's other veteran players. The big one to watch will be Roethlisberger, however, with Heyward's restructure complete.