Kevin Colbert said that the Steelers were done making cuts “for the time being.” That means we could still see some names hacked from the locker stalls but for now, Art Rooney II, Mike Tomlin and Colbert like the way the Steelers’ roster looks.
That’s fine, but if they were able to so easily give Hines, Smith and Farrior the ax (not that it wasn’t the right move) to save dollars, then why not keep making moves that will cut down the Steelers’ spending as much as possible before free agency starts.
The announcement of this year’s salary cap is long overdue, and with the cuts and restructures Colbert and Omar Khan have made over the past month, the Steelers have shed more than $ 41 million off this year’s payroll. So if Colbert’s and Khan’s expectations for the salary cap are correct and the Steelers did start the offseason $ 25 mil over that cap, they’re right around $ 17 mil under the ceiling. That might seem like quite a bit of dough but once the Steelers sign Mike Wallace (it is going has to happen) and start locking up their RFAs and UFAs, that money is going to go quick. So why not save even more.
THE JAMES HARRISON DECLARATION
Back in February, when the world was about to end because there was no way the Steelers could get salary-cap savvy, Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison both said they’d be willing to restructure their contracts…again…to help the team. Ben followed through and saved the Steelers $ 8 mil this season. We’re still waiting on Harrison to deliver. Ben’s restructuring put the Steelers under the cap so maybe Harrison doesn’t think another restructuring is necessary – that’s cool, he has every right to. But five guys have restructured their deals now, and for Harrison to redo his wouldn’t cost him anything but would probably save the Steelers around $ 5 mil. To save enable his team to spend even more money would be a huge leadership move by Harrison, especially since the team is already below the cap, and it would definitely help this mini rebuild.
Another contract Khan should address? Casey Hampton. They’re not going to restructure Hampton’s deal since he’s only got maybe another year left in him so what the Steelers should do is renegotiate. Coming off another ACL surgery, there’s a chance Hampton could re-re-re-reinjure his knees, and there’s an even better chance that he won’t be the starting nose tackle by season’s end. Hampton comes with a cap hit of more than $ 8 million. The Steelers do need Hampton to usher in the new class of nose tackles so they can’t release him but they could try to cut that in half; $ 4 mil’s not too shabby for a 35-year-old that only plays two downs tops.
CUTTING THE FAT
With the amount of names that have been let go, there’s not a whole lot of options left on the “to cut” list. There are really only two moves left for the Steelers to make and they seem pretty obvious, which is why I can’t figure out why they haven’t been made already.
The Steelers had no problem booting Chris Kemoeatu because his price tag was too high for his lack of production. Why would they not give Jon Scott the same treatment? He’s not quite as expensive as Kemo but he’s just as bad, and he’s costing the Steelers $ 2.7 mil…for what?! He’s done absolutely nothing and can’t stay healthy. The Steelers have their two starting guards (Marcus Gilbert, Willie Colon) so all they need are reserves and nearly $ 3 mil is way too much for a backup tackle.
Another expendable contract belongs to Will Allen. He’s almost 30, which means he’s not going to replace Troy Polamalu or Ryan Clark. And as a Steeler, he’s made all of 21 tackles. Plus, with Ryan Mundy being able to play free and even strong safety in a pinch, Allen’s not even the Steelers’ best reserve. But if the Steelers drop Allen’s $ 1.6 million cap charge, who’s going to be the fourth Black and Gold safety? Keep reading.
THE MYRON ROLLE PROJECT
The Steelers took the chance of signing Rolle to a futures contract, and if there’s an organization that knows how to find underrated assets, it’s the Steelers (isn’t that right, Wes Saunders?).
As a junior safety as Florida State, Rolle was projected as a first-round pick but instead of entering the draft, he decided to go to bloody old England as a Rhodes Scholar. By taking his senior year off from football, he went from a potential first-rounder to a sixth-round pick in 2010. That’s understandable but what’s not understandable is why he hasn’t found a solid home in the NFL since. He took a year off to study; it’s not like he was hurt or suffered an injury that setback his progression, he returned to the states just as healthy as when he left, and it’s not like he forgot how to play.
As a Seminole, Rolle was one of the best safeties in the nation. Even though he didn’t fly like Troy, he could get sideline to sideline pretty damn quick and his coverage skills were great for a safety, and the kid can hit. Maybe it’s just me, but when you have a kid with a brain like Rolle’s, who has the talent and adequate skills, who can learn from the best strong safety in the world, it sounds like a recipe for success…big time. I’m talking, Troy’s heir apparent big time, and he’d be a fraction of the price compared to Allen.
If Colbert and Khan follow these three easy steps, it would save the Steelers around another $ 13 million. Add that to the $ 17 mil the salary cap gurus have already put in the Rooney bank and the Steelers would have $ 30 million to play with before Ben and Haley decide to talk again.
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers