Monday is the next important date up on the calendar for the Steelers and all NFL teams. The NFL will release the final 2012 salary cap amount on March 12th, giving teams the remainder of the weekend to make sure everything is in order so they aren’t over the limit. The future of key restricted free agents for the Steelers will be affected one way or the other. As an FYI, if any team were to ever be over the cap by the due date, even by one dollar or one million, the league would have the right to take the teams books and start cutting players at random to get them cap compliant. The Steelers would never allow that to happen fortunately but still, just imagine how bad it could be for a team if it ever came to that. Just something to think about…
Kevin Colbert and the Steelers front office have been operating under the mindset that it will be around the projected $120 million, and assuming that is the case they would currently sit at around $10-$11 million under. This is the “safe” amount so they don’t end up expecting it to be higher and then have to scramble to comply at the last minute. They won’t have an issue being under the cap when it’s released but unless it’s higher we can probably expect a couple more player restructures at least to free up additional money.
As Mark Kaboly of the Tribune Review pointed out today: Salary cap to be released Monday. That gives teams a full 32 hours to be in compliance. Not a big deal if it is $125M. Is big deal if $120M. Like we said the Steelers will be fine either way however having that extra $5 million or so will go a long way towards getting 2nd round tenders out to guys like Doug Legursky and Ryan Mundy. In theory they might not have to restructure or release any more players if they have that extra breathing room.
No matter what the amount is, we know Mike Wallace will get the 1st round tender. Considering though that they’ve already released former starting lineman Chris Kemoeatu they’ll be looking at the offensive line in the draft as it is but losing Foster and/or Legursky would really put them behind the 8 ball. Both players are worth a 2nd round tender if the team can swing it in order to get decent compensation should they go elsewhere. Should they only have the chance to tender a 2nd round offer to one though my guess is that Legursky would receive it based on his ability to play every position on the line, especially reserve Center. It’s not even that either player is technically worth a 2nd round pick but if they let tender them at only a draft level amount, both could easily be snatched up by a team looking for depth on their line. Let’s face it, these guys, especially Legursky have been a big help with all the injuries in recent years.
Ryan Mundy is worth more than the 6th round pick should they choose to/only be able to offer him a draft level compensation offer. A 2nd round tender is essential because of his value not only at Safety but also on special teams. Considering that the draft is not deep at Safety, Mundy could easily be picked up by any team willing to give up a 6th round pick.
If you’d like to see our other projections previously posted up you can click here, but suffice it say that what happens on Monday could greatly affect how the Steelers approach the draft and any possible movement in free agency.