Steelers spend twice as many dollars on defense
Robinson: Steelers’ dollars go to defense
Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013
James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are the faces of the Steelers‘ defense, a pair of well-known and well-paid players who have 12 Pro Bowl appearances, three Super Bowl trips and two Defensive Player of the Year awards between them.
They‘re also the primary reason the NFL‘s No. 1-ranked defense is one of the NFL‘s best-compensated.
The offense? With the exception of Ben Roethlisberger, they‘re the guys who are hoping they don‘t get stuck with the check at the team dinner.
While most NFL teams devote roughly an equal amount of salary cap space to their offense and defense, the Steelers spent nearly twice as much on defense ($57.7 million) as they did offense ($30.3 million, or about half of what the Bears paid).
Only the Colts — who spent a league-low $22.7 million on offense — had a similar disparity, according to spotrac.com, a sports contract website.
Roethlisberger accounted for almost half of the offense‘s compensation — $9,895,000, based on his $900,000 salary and various prorated bonuses, including the prorated signing bonus from his $102 million contract.
If that sounds a bit skewed, it‘s not. The AFC top-seeded Broncos spent $41 million on just three players (Peyton Manning, Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey), yet they could do so because they rolled over $26 million of previously unused cap space into this season.
Why are the Colts‘ offensive salaries so low, especially for a playoff team? They paid a massive $38.6 million, or about one-third of their $121 million cap space, to players no longer with the team, including Manning, who still counts $10.4 million against their cap. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney counts $19 million, the most of any player.
The Steelers devoted $10 million of cap room to players who didn‘t wear their uniform in 2012 — even the bumblebee one. Much of that went to former lineman Chris Kemoeatu ($2.869 million), Hines Ward ($1.2 million) and James Farrior ($1 million).
And former Southern Illinois quarterback Chris Dieker, who spent about two weeks in the 2011 training camp? He cost $667 of cap space.
Of the 10 Steelers who counted the most against the cap, only two are on offense: Roethlisberger and No. 10 Rashard Mendenhall ($3.049 million). Numbers 2-8 are defensive players: Polamalu, Harrison, Casey Hampton, LaMarr Woodley, Brett Keisel, Ryan Clark, Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote.
Polamalu accounted for $9.1 million of cap room, Harrison for $9 million. No one else except Hampton ($4.967 million) counted for even half of what Roethlisberger, Polamalu or Harrison did.
On defense, the Steelers spent $24.1 million for linebackers (second most to the Jets‘ $27.2 million), $19.7 million on the secondary and $13.8 million on linemen. On offense, they devoted $11 million to quarterbacks (compared to the Broncos‘ $19.6 million), $5 million to running backs, $5.4 million to wide receivers, $1.3 million to tight ends and $7.6 million to linemen.
Only the Bills spent less on their offensive line, but the Steelers have a number of young linemen who are still on their first contracts and aren‘t making even $1 million per season.
Hall of Famer
They always invest on the defensive side, I have preached that before so it really don't matter who is the defensive coordinator they will always be tops on that side always have always will and it goes back to the 70s and it will continue to be that way after the great one is retired. But the way of the defense is gone every since King Roger became the commissioner, it's time for the team to adjust the way they run things even their free agent strategy is dying. Teams in the league now, even the Bengal spend in free agency yet we try and keep our own even when those players are past their prime.
Agree. Kind of hard to blame our offense when the defense is constantly getting the lion's share of the resources for players who are marginally performing.
Originally Posted by Steelhere10
The gist of my 4-3 ramblings have always been about the defenses costs with regards to taking two years to train someone versus having rookies come in and play their natural positions. We have to retain more expensive players because we have younger players in the "apprenticeship program" for too long and then when they start to play we have to give them a big second contract.
Our methodology on the defensive side of the ball is expensive to maintain and with the lowest numbers of sacks and INTs in decades we aren't getting value for money.
And these ramblings fail to account for the fact that 4-3 DEs and DTs do not often make impacts as rookies, either. Your ramblings also fail to account for the fact that 4-3 DEs are among the highest paid players in the game (I believe their franchise number is second only two QBs). As a general rule, linebackers are cheaper than defensive lineman, but the 4-3 requires more of those more expensive players.
Originally Posted by Oviedo
The cheaper OLB are also harder to find and develop which is why the star DEs get paid more since they produce more and usually sooner. That is because they are more of a sure thing versus taking DEs who can't play at the NFL level and hoping you can make something out of them. DEs get paid alot because they are worth it.
Originally Posted by phillyesq
The star DEs get paid more because they are rare, like franchise QBs and LTs. Supply and demand. If it was easy to find somebody who would come in as a rookie and play as a star DE, salaries for DEs would be depressed. Simple economics - the easier it is to replace a player the less value that player has.
Originally Posted by Oviedo
if mendy is at 10
then heath is in the top 10 as well
I wondered that as well. But maybe Heath's "big" money part of the contract kicks in for 2013?
Originally Posted by NJ-STEELER
IIRc heath's cap hit for this year is like $7M
I love Troy and James, but $18 million is too much to be invested in these two aging players. Steelers need to ask them to take a big pay reduction (cut and re-sign at a much lower salary) for the good of the team. If they're not willing, thanks for the memories, but it's time to move on.
Woodley ought to give half his salary back to the team; he was stealing from them this season.
Hopefully, Hampton's bags are already packed.
Last edited by BradshawsHairdresser; 01-06-2013 at 08:44 PM.