Increased NFL Salary Cap Means Little to Pittsburgh Steelers

By Jeff Hartman
Mike Tomlin
Jason Bridge USA TODAY Sports

When news broke that the NFL is planning on expanding their current salary cap to $130 million fans began to clamor wondering what their favorite team would do with the ability to expand their spending limits. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the expected salary cap for the 2014 season will mean very little, if anything at all.

The Steelers are not in a good place in terms of the salary cap. Alongside the Dallas Cowboys, the Steelers are projected to be $9 million over the new salary cap. That’s right, two teams in the entire league will be over the salary cap when it gets extended from $123 million to $130 million, and the Steelers are one of those two teams.

As some teams see the expanded salary cap as a way to utilize more money on free agents and making their teams more competitive, the Steelers will still be searching for ways to get in compliance with the new terms the NFL has put forth in terms of salary cap.

There are moves to be made for the Steelers, and the first would be releasing OT Levi Brown which would expunge his $6 million cap hit for the upcoming season. Other cap hits that could be reduced by re-negotiating or releasing players are cornerback Ike Taylor, who is due $7 million towards the cap, and Troy Polamalu, who is due $8 million towards the cap this season.

The Steelers will do their usual contract restructuring dance with specific veteran players like Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger to ensure they get in compliance with the cap before the new NFL year starts in March, but that song and dance always leads to the team being on the wrong end of the salary cap by season’s end.

The Steelers need to trim the fat within their lineup, and releasing some of these veteran players who are weighing down the team financially would be a step in the right direction. But Steelers fans who expect the expansion of the salary cap to equal big moves for Pittsburgh will be extremely disappointed as this means very little for the black and gold.

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on  Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+

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