At the end of the day, the Steelers are in a much better cap position than theyíve ever been heading into a new season. On March 1, they will easily be in compliance with the cap after the retirement of Hartings (and it would be a surprise if they didnít part ways with Gardocki as well to clear nearly a million more of cap room).
The rookies will eat up about $2MM of that available space, but the Steelers will still be comfortably under the cap. Even with no other roster trimming besides Hartings and Gardocki, they would be a healthy $3.4MM under the cap.
As stated above, it would only take around $1.5MM of additional cap space to extend Polamalu. Any other extensions (such as Aaron Smith or Faneca) would likely create additional cap space this year (though they could be crafted to be cap-neutral).
If the Steelers wanted to trim some more marginal talent from the roster, guys like Kirschke and Wilson present some nice opportunities to free up even more space (about $2.9 million in net savings to cut these two alone).
The Steelers could easily get into the free agent derby for players like Daniel Graham, Eric Steinbach, and Napoleon Harris if they chose to do so. They could upgrade from Tuman to Graham for less than $500K in 2007 cap room; they could also make the upgrade from Simmons or Kriewaldt to Steinbach or Harris, respectively, for less than $1MM in either case.
Bottom line, in 2007, thanks to the new CBA, the Steelers are in great cap position to build a Super Bowl contender and solidify their roster for years to come.CONT.......