Steelers working to restructure contracts ahead of cap deadline
February 27, 2013 1:00 AM
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks to pass against the Jets during a game at Heinz Field in September.
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers are working with agents to restructure some of their veteran players' contracts as they move to get under the NFL's salary cap as required by March 12.
Among those they will restructure are Ben Roethlisberger and Lawrence Timmons, and both could be done before the end of this week. They may want to know if they'll have enough to try to sign free agent receiver Steve Breaston, who plans to visit their South Side facility Thursday or Friday.
They also met with Bill Parise, the agent for James Harrison, at the NFL combine to discuss his contract situation.
None of those whose contracts are restructured will lose money. The new deals do not add years to the players' contracts either, they merely are reworked for bookkeeping purposes to create salary cap room.
Typically, they turn much of a players' 2013 salary into a bonus, which are pro-rated over the life of the contract for salary cap purposes.
For example, Roethlisberger is signed for the next three seasons. His salary for 2013 is $11.6 million. To make it simple, they could take $9 million of that salary and put it into a bonus, spreading the cap hit at $3 million per year on the books. That would create $6 million in salary cap room with Roethlisberger, who would still receive $11.6 million this year.
Same with Timmons, who has four years left on his contract. He is due a salary of $5.375 million this year. They could put $4 million of that into a bonus and save another $3 million in cap room this year.
Harrison's case is different. He is due $6.57 million this year and $7.57 million in 2014. Conceivably, they could turn most of his salary in 2013 into a bonus and save some room. They also could be preparing to ask him, at age 35, to take a pay cut. Parise said while they met in Indianapolis, neither option was discussed but that they plan to meet again.
Another likely candidate to restructure to create room is LaMarr Woodley, although they have not approched him yet. He has four years left on his contract with a $9 million salary scheduled for 2013. They could create approximately $6 million in cap space with him.
Besides restructuring players' contracts, they also may release a veteran or two.