Cornerbacks next on tap for Steelers after Roethlisberger, Williams deals
March 17, 2015 12:00 AM
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum, shown celebrating with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at Paul Brown Stadium this past season, is one of the players the Steelers would like extend. Beachum counts $1,542,000 against their salary cap in the final year of his contract.
Accounting for contracts given to Ben Roethlisberger, pictured at a news conference Friday for his five-year deal, and running back DeAngelo Williams, the Steelers have $6.24 million in salary cap room.
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As the smoke cleared on the signings of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back DeAngelo Williams, the Steelers have $6.24 million in salary cap room as they look at veteran cornerbacks to possibly sign.
The Steelers met Monday with Patrick Robinson, one of several teams the Saints’ 2010 first-round draft pick reportedly has on his schedule to visit this week. Sterling Moore of the Dallas Cowboys will visit today, like Robinson an unrestricted free agent cornerback.
Roethlisberger’s four-year, $99 million contract created a tad more than $1 million in cap space for 2015, according to figures obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Steelers gave Roethlisberger a $31 million signing bonus plus a salary and roster bonus of $4.25 million in 2015, all payable this year.
In addition, Roethlisberger will earn annual salaries/roster bonuses of $17.75 million in 2016, $12 million in 2017, $17 million in 2018 and $17 million in 2019. He will be paid more than half the total value of the contract, $53 million, in the first two years.
Besides the $99 million base, he can earn an additional $9 million for the combined seasons of 2018 and 2019. To do so, he must reach certain team and individual incentives in the first three years of the contract to spark the escalators, which could bring the total to $108 million over the life of the five-year contract.
Because he also carried cap costs from previous bonuses for 2015, his salary cap number should be $17,245,000 this year and annual salary caps for him of $23.95 million in 2016, $18.2 million in 2017, $23.2 million in 2018 and $23.2 million in 2019.
Williams, a nine-year veteran with the Carolina Panthers, signed a two-year, $4 million contract Friday to back up Le’Veon Bell at halfback. That signing will not be considered when the NFL issues compensatory picks in 2016 because Carolina cut Williams.
While some of that $6.24 million of salary cap room would be used to sign a veteran cornerback, the Steelers have two more potential moves to create even more room. The release or retirement of Troy Polamalu before June would open up $3.75 million in salary cap space (less the $435,000-wage earner who would replace him on the 51-man roster), and $6 million if it occurs after June 1.
Defensive end Cameron Heyward counts $6,969,000 against their cap today — all in salary because of the fifth-year option the Steelers exercised on his rookie contract. That should be significantly reduced when they negotiate a long-term contract for him. For example, if they sign him to an average of $9 million over five years ($45 million total), they could pay him a salary and roster bonus of $2 million this year with a $15 million signing bonus and he would count $5 million against the cap in 2015, almost $2 million lower than what he counts now.
The Steelers also would like to extend the contract of left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who counts $1,542,000 against their salary cap in the final year of his contract. Any new deal likely would increase that cap number for 2015.
They will use up more room when they sign their rookies, but only the first-round draft pick should have much of an affect by counting somewhere around a projected $1.5 million, or roughly $1 million more than a minimum-wage first-year player.
The Steelers could wind up with a healthy amount of salary cap room in 2015 that they can carry over into 2016, when the cap for each team also is expected to rise after jumping by $10 million this year. This will be the final year they must account for LaMarr Woodley’s bonuses, which carry a burden of $8.58 million in 2015; so that in essence will give them even more to work with next year.
Ed Bouchette: email@example.com and Twitter @EdBouchette.
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