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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.

About Steve Alan

Steve, known by most as TTF, is owner of TheSteelersFans and administrator of the best Steelers message board on the net. Big fan of strong coffee and hardcore Steelers fan from womb to tomb.
  • Zach

    I hope we start extending our guys after June 1st: Pouncey, sign Worilds long-term, Heyward, Cortez, Gilbert, probably in this order.

    • TheSteelersFans

      Some of those will be priorities for sure. I’d bump Cortez up in terms of priority.

      • Zach

        I’m not a big fan of Cortez (younger William Gay IMO), but if we don’t extend him, I’m not sure we would have starting corners next year! He’s Making 1.5 Mil this year, I’d guess something in the range 2.5-3.5 Mil/yr would do the job. I’m not sure we can find starting corners for this price, plus we may need 2…I’m wondering what would be your priorities? Would we have cap room to extend Heyward (let’s say 6.5 Mil/yr), Pouncey (7 Mil/yr), Cortez (2.5 Mil/yr) if we sign Worilds long term to reduce his cap hit?

        • TheSteelersFans

          Extending Cortez is a priority, and I’d be a little surprised if that doesn’t happen this summer. I think 3.5 Mil APY is the starting point for his extension. I’m in the “extend Pouncey now” camp. Depending on how their deals are structured, yes, it is possible (though unlikely) that those 3 could be extended if Worilds was signed to a long term deal. Personally, I would not count too heavily on Worilds signing a long term deal in the near future.

    • SteelersAngel

      I agree, let’s lock a few of those guys up long term. At least Pouncey, Heyward, and Worilds anyway.