Breaking Down The Rookie Salaries And Cap Implications

Now that the draft is behind us, it’s time to take a look at the rookie salaries and there implications on the 2014 salary cap. Many teams are wasting no time getting their rookies under contract, but don’t expect the Steelers to follow suit. There is no rush to do so, and the team will have plenty of cap space to work with once LaMarr Woodley’s $8,000,000 salary comes off the books on June 1st.

The team has a little over $300K in salary cap space at the time of this writing. While they probably won’t sign any of their rookies in the immediate future, they could easily sign most of them without having much impact on the 2014 cap. Here’s a breakdown estimating their contracts, and the impact on the 2014 Steelers salary cap. Remember, these are estimates, but there isn’t too much room for change.

Player Total Value Signing Bonus 2014 Cap Hit
Ryan Shazier $9,507,198 $5,234,328 $1,728,582
Stephon Tuitt $4,607,953 $1,733,000 $853,250
Dri Archer $2,906,784 $506,376 $571,594
Martavis Bryant $2,723,198 $439,220 $529,805
Shaquille Richardson $2,410,052 $190,052 $467,513
Wesley Johnson $2,364,560 $144,560 $456,140
Jordan Zumwalt $2,324,852 $104,852 $446,213
Daniel McCullers $2,298,680 $78,680 $439,670
Rob Blanchflower $2,279,400 $59,400 $434,850

As it stands right now, the team could sign all of their picks except for Shazier and Tuitt, without having too much impact on the 2014 cap space they have currently remaining. During the offseason, only the team’s top 51 cap charges count towards the salary cap. This is also known as the rule of 51. Right now, the team’s 51st highest cap hit is Derek Moye at $495,000. As you can see from the numbers above, 5 of the rookie signings wouldn’t count towards the top 51.

Expect the NFL to soon announce that the Steelers 2014 rookie pool allocation is just under $5.9 Mil, but due to displacement of the top 51, they won’t need nearly that much cap room to cover the signings. After all is said and done, the rookie pool will only have an impact of $2.2 Mil in 2014 cap space.