Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cap increases, good news for Steelers

According to the Associated Press, the salary cap is going up an extra $5 from where it was originally estimated going into this offseason.

Per the AP story, NFL teams will have nearly $12 million more under the salary cap this season, the final year with one in place unless the league and its players’ union can reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
The cap was due to increase $7 million to $123 million this season, but additional adjustments stipulated in the current CBA will increase the total amount that teams can spend on player compensation to about $128 million. The $12 million increase is the largest in three years.
The league informed teams Wednesday that a “cash-adjustment mechanism” from final accounting figures in May will give clubs $947,000 of additional salary cap room, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Friday.

After the release of Larry Foote, the Steelers were between $2 and $3 million under the cap but needed to clear additional space to sign their rookie class.

Now, they may not only have enough money to do that, they may also have some extra cash available to sign a couple of their impending free agents.


datruth4life said...


I posted the same thing for you on the previous blog. Hopefully the extra money will allow the team to do some things. And the team can save a lot of cap room just by redoing the deals of Max Starks ($8.45M salary cap hit in 09) and Big Snack ($6.65M salary cap hit for 09).

In other words, the Steelers have done a great job to have the talent that they have already under contract with the ability to create some more salary cap room going fwd.

I do believe that Jeff Reed and Heath Miller are shoo-ins to get extensions before this season. I believe that Starks, Big Snack and Keisel will be a different story.

Thoughts before calling it a weekend, Dale?

Patrick said...

sorry im confused here Dale

How does an adjustment of $947,000 make a $5 mil increase?

Anonymous said...

There was already a $4m increase before free agency. I'm guessing they ball-parked it on the conservative side until they could get all the numbers thoroughly fleshed out.

Patrick said...

so when we talked about the Steelers being up against the cap, were we including that extra $4 mil?

Basically because of this move, whats the net effect on the Steelers cap today, plus $1 mil or plus $5 mil?


Viz-Burgh said...

The net effect of this change is an additional $947,000 in cap space from what was previously reported.

And while this additional money will help, the Steelers still needed more space just to accommodate their rookie pool allocation. Any other extensions, etc. won't be coming from this bit.

BTW - A quick internet search will give you a much fuller picture of what happened. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello explained what caused this pretty well in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

Dale Lolley said...

Yeah, I guess that technically, the Steelers only picked up the additional $1 million.
That's actually what they needed to get their rookie class signed, but it does give them some wiggle room to get new deals done.

Again, if there's no new deal in place and 2010 goes uncapped, they actually don't have to extend Miller or Colon. They'll only be restricted free agents.

They'll get something done with Reed. I think Starks will be a priority as well. Can't allow a left tackle to go. He was arguably their best offensive lineman in 2008.

Hampton will be difficult. Keisel is gone.

Anonymous said...

Would Hoke be the starting NT in 2010, or would they need a rookie to play right away?

Ben said...

Here's my take on Hampton - they wont sign a NT on the wrong side of 30, known for struggling with his weight, to a long-term deal. However, they don't have his replacement on the roster right now from what I can tell. I've heard Hood could play NT, but I have my doubts. So I'm guessing they'll franchise him for at least one year, possibly two, draft a solid NT in the 2010 draft and get him ready to take over, then let Hampton go on his way. It's not exactly a friendly way of dealing with a veteran, but he's not making it any easier by letting himself get out of shape.

I suppose they could sign him to a 3-4 year deal with a weight clause. I hope they don't do it just yet, though. I'm looking to see the monster Big Hamp can become in a contract year. Though, with all the teams switching to a 3-4 scheme, he could be a hot commodity.

You're right, Dale. It's a difficult situation.

Anonymous said...

There's no way they F-tag Hampton next year. Pretty much gives him a 'Get out of Training Camp Free' card. Who knows what kind of shape he'd be in whenever it is he decides to show up. And they wouldn't find out until after he's signed his guaranteed $7m tender.

Anonymous said...

I doubt he flops if they tag Hampton. What kind of FA deal would that get him?

steeler fan from the 70s said...

Not sure about the "caponomics" but I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers somehow retain Keisel.

If he goes, the Steelers are back to having 3 capable DL starters (assuming Hood pans out) with no young depth, and Hampton and Smith will be 1 year older. It would make DL a high priority again next year. Factor in that Keisel seems like a lunch pail, well-liked team oriented player, and probably has a couple of years left in him, I could see the Steelers extending him. (Plus, I could see Keisel agreeing to a "reasonable" deal, although who knows.)

I see Hampton as more likely to go. I understand the importance of having that anchor in the middle but I don't see him having too many quality years left.

Back to Keisel, this is why I was a bit surprised to see them trade back from 2.64 instead of taking Gilbert. They needed multiple DL. And with more 3-4 teams, those 3-4 DL are getting tougher to fine, and they usually need time to develop.


This is far-fetched, but if Tomlin were to go to a 4-3, 2010 would be the time to do it. Smith and Hood would play at DT. Woodley would play DE. Timmons would be the WILL LB.

Although, I don't see how Harrison fits into that, so nevermind.

Anonymous said...

Hampton's snaps are already bleeding off. He was about a 30 snap guy in the base. Now he's rotating out about a series or two a half with Hoke, so he's down to about 20 snaps a game or less.

The guy is a deep rooted tree, but I just can't see them spending ~$7m on a 20 snap guy who may not show up until sometime in August and in who knows what kind of shape. Contract year or not, he's always played his way into shape rather than trained and maintained. I don't see that changing. And that's a dubious gamble if he shows up in August expecting once again to play his way into shape. Of course they spent $7m last year on a back up tackle, so maybe it's not unfathomable.

Cajunyankee said...

Keisel is going no-where. He does not have the Great numbers but is plays well in both the 3-4 and 4-3 and on passing downs as well as running situations. He's dependable and even if Hood takes his spot Coach Tomlin likes rotating DL to keep them having fresh legs and Keisel fits that role superbly. He's also alot cheaper than Hampton who is a one-trick pony. He'll probably be here this year if he works hard in camp but he won't get an extension.

Ben said...

Just because Starks' franchise tag was $7 million doesn't mean Hampton's would be. They determine franchise amounts by averaging the top 5 paid players at that position. Right now, that's around $6 million for defensive tackles, which is less than Casey's cap hit this year. How Haynesworth's contract will play into that has yet to be seen, though. Dan Snyder f-ed over a lot of teams, he knows it, and sadly, is probably pleased with that knowledge.

In any event, you have to think if they'll franchise a guy like Starks, they'll do the same with Hampton. He's one of the best, most important players on their defense, and a guy they haven't found a replacement for yet. He'll still be in a contract year if we franchise him, so I think he'd show up in relatively decent shape.

As for switching to a 4-3, Tomlin is too smart to do something like that with the personnel he has. He has the best defensive coordinator in the NFL who is an absolute expert in the 3-4 system. He also has the best linebacking squad in the NFL, who are 3-4 specialists. You don't pay Harrison $50 million and ask him to put a hand down and play DE. Not to mention Hampton and Smith, two of the best 3-4 DL in the game. Polamalu's skillset clearly defies scheme -- he could play in any system -- but he's flourishing in LeBeau's defense. This defense might be one for the ages, and Tomlin knows it. He's not going to entertain the idea of a 4-3 until LeBeau hangs it up and a great deal of his personnel has moved on and been replaced.

I do, however, see a possibility of running a 3-4/4-3 hybrid. They already do it, to an extent, on passing downs, but I could see it becoming more prominent. In any event, whatever they're doing right now is clearly working, and Coach T has the good sense not to mess with it.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if they let Jeff Reed walk. Dude seems like a ticking time bomb with all the drinking and wild partying.

Anonymous said...

I hope Keisel stays too. He knows the system and may not get the attention the others do, but he works hard play after play.
I think he'd take less to stay and keeping an experienced guy there is a good idea. Not sure Hood is going to be ready to start that quick. Even next season.
Keisel works hard off season & on and is extremely dedicated.

Dale Lolley said...

According to published reports, the Steelers had $4.7 million in cap space coming out of the draft - Ward's new deal saved them money because he took a pay cut in 2010.
This move puts them at $5.7 and they need $4.1 to sign their rookies.
That gives them some wiggle room to get at least one or two new deals done.

Patrick said...


any thoughts on James Harrison's white house comments? Not really something worth making a big deal about it. But I read and read what he said, and I can't put that in any context that makes sense. I'm all for speaking your mind and feeling however you want to, but Harrison just sounded like an idiot.

I was suprised by it really, but thats all.

steeler fan from the 70s said...

Depending on how the cap situation looks like next year, I wouldn't mind seeing both Starks and Hampton walk. That would free up a lot of money and should allow the Steelers to sign almost everyone else plus find a stopgap left tackle.

I've heard that next year is a good year for NT, for whatever that's worth. As for finding a LT, I know it's risky to try a find a decent LT for decent dollars, but there's usually a Levi Jones type or two every year that you can roll the dice on. In the meantime Steelers fans should hope that Tony Hills shows serious progress this year. It still irritates me that the FO has paid Starks so much over these two years. Some of that could have gone towards resigning Mcfadden and/or Nate. Not implying that those two were irreplaceable, but you don't want to make it a habit to let go of C2 (contract 2) players.

And even if we do sign most of our impending free agents at the end of the 2010 season, remember that Holmes, Woodley and Timmons will soon be looking at serious salary spikes.

So in an era where you can't keep everyone, I have to say by to Hampton and Starks.

(If Starks would agree to a long term deal for reasonable money, I would do it, but I doubt that's going to happen.)

Anonymous said...

I was reading on what you said about Keisel maybe needing to agree to pay cut to stay. Any word or feeling as to whether he will do that? I keep reading how he wants to retire as a Steeler, so I hope that means he will take a cut or work out a Steelers-friendly deal. I'd love to see him stay!

I also agree with Patrick on the Harrison comment about WH visit. If he doesn't want to go I guess that is his perogitive but his reasoning is off it seems. Heck, Obama openly roots for the Steelers from what I've read. And, as for just being invited because they won-well isn't that what happens EVERY year? Strange comment. But, of course it's his call on whether he goes & not our business. His answer just seemed strange.

Dale Lolley said...

What Harrison says and why he's really not going could be two different things. He sometimes says stuff for shock value. It's a non-story to me.

As for Keisel, I think he could be open to signing a long-term deal that's club friendly as long as he can save some face ala. what Ward did.

Viz-Burgh said...

Harrison was having fun with the reporter for most of his "published" comments. At the end of his fun he finally says that the invite just doesn't mean that much to him & he doesn't feel he has to go. Skipping this one just like the last one. No big deal at all. You can watch the video of the interview here:

Keisel is a guy who I think will do what it takes to remain a Steeler & the Steelers will be lucky to have him. Even with Hood in the fold, there's no guarantee he'll work out as a solid starting DE. And even if Hood ends up being an All-Pro the Steelers love to rotate those guys & quality depth has been an issue for us.