Steelers now close to cap compliance
The Steelers made a flurry of moves on Wednesday trimming $15 million off their 2014 cap to bring them within striking distance of the $133 million NFL salary cap.
All teams must be under the cap by Tuesday.
The Steelers gave safety Troy Polamalu and tight end Heath Miller two-year contract extensions that trimmed $8 million off of their salary cap while giving neither player any "new" money.
Both players had their 2014 salaries trimmed - $1.5 million for Polamalu and $1 million for Miller - with the remainder of what they were scheduled to earn turned into signing bonus, which can prorated over the three years of their contracts.
Polamalu will now have cap friendly salaries of $6 million in 2015 and 2016, while Miller's will come in at $4 million in each of those seasons.
The Steelers also signed impending free agent safety Will Allen to a deal that seals Ryan Clark's fate. With Allen now under contract, at 1 year and $985,000, the Steelers will allow Clark to leave, not a surprising fact, but now a fact nonetheless.
In addition, the team released Levi Brown, Curtis Brown and Larry Foote at a savings of $7.95 million.
What does all of this mean?
It means there isn't a true urgency to release cornerback Ike Taylor, though the team will continue to work with Taylor at lowering his 2014 salary, which is currently $7 million with a cap hit of $11.9 million.
The Steelers could see some additional cap savings with further extensions - Ben Roethlisberger - or by signing linebacker Jason Worilds, who had the transition tag placed on him Monday, to a more cap-friendly long-term deal.
The Steelers are also now in a position where they don't HAVE to cut linebacker LaMarr Woodley, though that could still happen with a June 1 designation.
Read full post: Steelers now close to cap compliance
Now that the Steelers have taken care of their biggest issue in free agency, first slapping the transition tag on linebacker Jason Worilds and then getting him to sign it, thus assuring he won't leave as a free agent.
Next up with Worilds is getting him to agree to a contract extension that will lower his 2014 cap hit - currently set at $9.75 million thanks to the transition tag.
That will be critical for the Steelers, who now find themselves some $15 million over the cap after tagging Worlds.
Prior to tagging Worilds, the Steelers were around $6 million over the $133 million cap, a sum that could have been made up in one fell swoop by releasing Levi Brown and his bloated $6.2 million salary.
Now, the Steelers will have to get a little more creative, particularly if they wish to sign any of their own potential free agents before they hit the open market next Tuesday.
With Worilds out of the picture, who will they target?
Tops on my list would be wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who led the team with 10 TD catches in 2013, and two defensive ends, Brett Keisel and Al Woods.
Woods might be a guy who jumps out among those three. After all, he's been just a spot player over the past two years after hanging around on the practice squad.
But he showed enough flexibility last season at both end and nose tackle for him to be very valuable to the Steelers.
With Emmanuel Sanders likely to leave as a free agent, Cotchery would give the team a stable veteran presence at wideout, while the same could be said of Keisel at defensive end, where Ziggy Hood is also a free agent.
After those three, offensive lineman Guy Whimper would be next on my list, something I would never have envisioned typing last August. But Whimper showed enough as a swing man in 2013 to merit coming back again on a veteran minimum deal.
I would also try to bring back LaRod Stephens-Howling and Fernando Velasco, two guys who could be relatively easy re-signings given that both ended the 2013 season on IR.
Finally, I'd bring back Michael Palmer for tight end depth. Palmer showed me enough last season as a blocker and special teams performer that he's worth keeping around to push David Paulsen for the No. 3 tight end spot.Read full post: Now what?
PIAA win cures ailing CV Colts (101)
St. Clair Hospital named in Top 10 in nationwide hospitals (39)
Bower Hill organizes food drive to honor Roberto Clemente (39)
Colella appointed to fill vacant BP council seat (35)
St. Clair Hospital named in Top 10 in nationwide hospitals (175)
PIAA win cures ailing CV Colts (48)
Ward Home fundraiser (25)
Bower Hill organizes food drive to honor Roberto Clemente (23)
Ballroom dancing not the answer (1)
PSU students still battle shadow of Sandusky’s actions (1)
Colella appointed to fill vacant BP council seat (1)