The Steelers have slightly less than a month from now to get below the NFL’s salary cap; March 13, at 4pm EST is the deadline. While they are in panic mode, the Steelers never are though, there is still significant work to be done. Normally you like to be in a position when free agency starts to be able to make moves to help your team. That’s not the case for the Steelers and most likely won’t be the case when free agency starts.
The front office must find a way to more money from their cap value, which could and should include restructuring the deals of Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison. Both are among the highest paid players on the team and both carry a significant cap hit. Ben will count over $11 million while Harrison will count over $9 million. Redoing the deals of these 2 players should be a no brainer right now, although arguably not the easiest thing in the world when you’re talking about that much money. You can’t push it all off to future years and at the same time you have to be careful how you much you move so you don’t create a bad situation in 2013 or beyond.
Ryan Tollner, the agent for Roethlisberger and Bill Parise, who represents Harrison both have said they are willing to restructure their clients deals to help the Steelers according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review today.
Knowing Troy Polamlu, one would expect that if the Steelers come asking he would be willing to redo his deal as well. Casey Hampton is probably the most interesting one to watch though as he recovers from his ACL injury. At this point I don’t see the team cutting the Big Snack, but rather they may wait until training camp to see how his recovery is going before making a decision. There are enough other avenue’s they can explore to free up money besides releasing Hampton. That being said I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s released but personally I would like to see them hang onto him for the time being; there’s plenty of time to make a move later.
Things will start to heat up in the coming weeks perhaps with 1 more flurry of roster moves and restructures similar to what we saw in the last 2 weeks with Timmons, Woodley, and Taylor restructuring along with the cuts of Arnaz Battle and Bryant McFadden.