Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Many Tough Choices on Tap Salary Cap Plays Key Role in Most

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Many Tough Choices on Tap Salary Cap Plays Key Role in Most

Article excerpt

Now, we wait for the Steelers to drop the next shoes.

They were assured Tuesday morning of keeping linebacker Jason Worilds for at least the 2014 season when it took him mere hours to accept the $9,754,000 transition deal they dropped on him Monday afternoon.

By accepting, Worilds no longer can entertain offers from other teams because he no longer is a free agent. It's not only a binding one-year deal, it also is guaranteed, and they would like to sign him to a long-term deal.

The next steps for the Steelers will look like a dance that has become all too familiar for them lately -- restructuring contracts to save 2014 salary-cap room, terminating veteran contracts, asking for pay cuts and working out contract extensions that also create space in their 2014 salary cap.

They need that space because, at the moment, they are approximately $10 million above where they need to be for salary- cap compliance by 4 p.m. Tuesday. That takes into account their top 51 salaries, the only ones that count in the offseason (their entire roster is closer to $14 million above the cap).

They are trying to negotiate a contract extension with Heath Miller that perhaps would keep him a Steelers tight end until his retirement and also lower his 2014 salary-cap hit of $9.5 million (including a $6 million salary).

There are many other ways they are working to create salary-cap room, including a multiyear deal with Worilds that also would reduce his currently bloated salary-cap hit this year.

Cornerback Ike Taylor also has to be in their sights, and something needs to be done with him by Tuesday. Taylor is scheduled to make $7 million in this the final year of his contract. He's not going to get that. They could release him and save $7 million. But no matter how anyone thinks he played in 2013, they have little depth at cornerback, and he would give them at least that.

They could ask Taylor to take $3 million in salary and shave their cap by $4 million. They could reasonably pare $2 million more from their 2014 salary cap on an extension with Miller.

Those two things would create $6 million in cap space. They will cut tackle Levi Brown and his $6.25 million due this season, and that's a quick $12. …

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