The Steelers continue to free up salary cap space by reworking contracts of current players, and the most recent is veteran nose tackle Casey “Big Snack” Hampton.
According to a league source, the Steelers got a little further under the salary cap by restructuring the final year of nose tackle Casey Hampton’s three-year, $21 million contract. Hampton, who will turn 35 by the start of the regular season, was scheduled to earn $4.89 million in base salary with a $1 million workout bonus in 2012 and his cap number was $8.057 million. Under the restructure, Hampton reduced his base salary to $2.8 million and his workout bonus is gone, reducing his cap number by $3.09 million.
It’s not known for sure at this time but it’s quite possible that the Steelers added another year to Hampton’s deal depending on the terms of the restructure, similar to Aaron Smith’s restructure a couple years ago.
Adjusting Hampton’s contract in some manner had to be in the back of their minds all along considering his cap value this year, even with him recovering from ACL surgery earlier this offseason. While you generally don’t like to restructure it has become a necessary evil in today’s NFL. It’s like the old saying, “you rob Peter to pay Paul” but sooner or later Paul will want his due. Fortunately for the Steelers, they are experts at this sort of thing, doing it every year and it always seems to find a way to work itself out.
The team is likely considering using a high draft pick on a nose tackle this April (somewhere in the first 3 rounds). However keeping Hampton around for what looks like at least another year was something that they had to do if for no other reason than insurance. Steve McLendon is the only healthy NT on the roster right now after the retirement of Chris Hoke. Hampton will likely start the season on the PUP list but even if that is the case he’ll be available later in the year and having fresh depth late in the season is always a good thing.