Steelers Need To Consider These Options For 2016

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The Steelers offense could look a little different, but still be just as explosive, in 2016. Photo from http://www.pittsburghsportscastle.com

When it comes to parting ways with players, a year early is always better than a year too late. Sometimes you also find out that a guy who is replacing an injured starter, just might be a viable and unexpected answer to help solve other problem areas. A season in which the Steelers dealt with so many injuries, could actually be a golden opportunity to reshape the roster in order to help further build a defense that could get the Steelers back in the Super Bowl. We all fall in love, so to speak, with certain players that are deemed irreplaceable, and get angry and defensive when it is suggested that the time has come for them to move on to their life’s work. It was that way with the departures of fan favorites like Jack Lambert all the way up to Troy Polamalu, but sometimes that is what’s required to move onward and upward in today’s “what have you done for me lately” culture. The most pressing issues that the Steelers face, are on the defensive side of the ball, most namely in the secondary and at defensive tackle. The solution to help fix the defense could come with making some personnel decisions on the offense. Releasing three players, Heath Miller, Shaun Suisham, and Maurkice Pouncey, would free up the money to do just that.

As valuable as these three are, and have been, one is getting up there in age, while the other two are dealing with season ending injuries. Aside from injuries to Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers offense didn’t miss a beat with Cody Wallace playing center. Granted, Wallace might have led all NFL centers in penalty yardage, but he provided excellent pass protection for Ben, and is extremely aggressive in run blocking. Heath Miller will be heading into twelfth  year next season, and is showing signs of slowing down. In his prime, Miller was a tight end who could do it all equally well when it came to pass catching and blocking, but the time might be right to pass the baton to a much younger Jesse James, who showed potential in his rookie season.The Steelers defense finds itself in its current rebuilding state because they held onto older players for too long, all for the sake of one more title run. Although they have done a good job of re-stocking that side of the ball, they still have some holes to fill. As the Steelers are finally escaping Salary Cap Hell, the time to act is now.

2016 Steelers Salary Cap:

2016  Salary Cap-$154 million

 

2015 roll over cap- $0

Adjustment- $0

Adjusted Salary Cap-$154 million

All contracts- $146,487,297

Dead money- $765,187

Total Cap money- $147,252,484

Total Cap space- $6,747,516

Using the new “manage this roster” feature over at http://www.spotrac.com, by taking their figures and restructuring Ben’s deal, along with cutting Pouncey and Miller, the Steelers ended up with more cap space to work with than they have had in years. It’s cap space that is needed, and would open up a lot of options that they haven’t previously had, especially in free agency.

My 2016 Steelers Salary Cap:

# PLAYER POS. Age/2016 CAP FIGURE
1 Ben Roethlisberger QB 33 $23,950,000

$11,376,250

2 Lawrence Timmons ILB 29 $15,131,250
3 Antonio Brown WR 27 $12,370,833
4 Cameron Heyward DE 26 $10,400,000
5 David DeCastro G 26 $8,070,000
6 Mike Mitchell FS 28 $6,763,750
7 Marcus Gilbert RT 27 $6,461,000
8 Arthur Moats OLB 27 $3,133,333
9 Jarvis Jones OLB 26 $2,769,933
10 Ryan Shazier ILB 23 $2,592,876
11 DeAngelo Williams RB 32 $2,565,000
12 Bud Dupree OLB 22 $2,095,973
13 James Harrison OLB 37 $1,500,000
14 Cody Wallace C 31 $1,350,000
15 Le’Veon Bell RB 23 $1,311,100
16 Stephon Tuitt DE 22 $1,257,122
17 Senquez Golson CB 22 $909,327
18 Markus Wheaton WR 24 $842,844
19 Shamarko Thomas SS 24 $788,288
20 Landry Jones QB 26 $784,805
21 Martavis Bryant WR 24 $709,805
22 Vince Williams ILB 26 $694,670
23 Sammie Coates WR 22 $682,878
24 Daryl Richardson RB 25 $675,000
25 Ross Ventrone SS 29 $675,000
26 Jordan Zumwalt ILB 24 $626,213
27 Daniel McCullers DT 23 $619,670
28 Chris Hubbard G 24 $600,000
29 Fitz Toussaint RB 25 $600,000
30 Jesse James TE 21 $577,228
31 Leterrius Walton DE 23 $554,232
32 Jordan Berry P 24 $525,000
33 Chris Boswell K 24 $525,000
34 L.J. Fort ILB 26 $525,000
35 Doran Grant CB 23 $525,000
36 Roosevelt Nix FB 23 $525,000
37 Alejandro Villanueva LT 27 $525,000
38 Eli Rogers WR 23 $451,666
39 Micah Hatchie RT 23 $450,333
40 Jacob Hagen FS 23 $450,000
41 Ty Long K 22 $450,000
42 Caushaud Lyons DE 23 $450,000
43 Brian Mihalik DE 23 $450,000
44 Ray Vinopal FS 24 $450,000
45 Ross Cockrell CB 24 $0

Dead Cap

# PLAYER POS. Age/2015 CAP
4 Maurkice Pouncey C 26 2020 $3,551,000
7 Heath Miller TE 33 2017 $3,181,668
10 Cortez Allen CB 27 2019 $1,350,000
11 Shaun Suisham K 34 2019 $570,000
1 Doran Grant CB 23 $366,759
2 Dri Archer RB 24 $253,008
21 Matt Spaeth TE 32 2017 $137,500
3 Anthony Chickillo DE 24 $67,865
4 Gerod Holliman FS 21 $43,884
5 B.J. Finney C 24 $6,667
6 Miles Dieffenbach C 24 $5,334
7 Shawn Lemon ILB 27 $5,000
8 Cameron Clear T 22 $3,334
10 Ross Scheuerman RB 22 $3,334
9 Reese Dismukes G 23 $3,334
11 Tyler Murphy QB 24 $3,000
12 Niko Davis DE 25 $1,667
15 Kevin Whimpey T 25 $667
13 Cameron Stingily RB 0 $667
14 Mike Thornton DT 24 $667

Just by restructuring Ben and cutting Pouncey, Suisham, and Miller, the Steelers could approximately add an additional $32 million to their cap space. That doesn’t include a potential restructuring Lawrence Timmons deal either. That extra money could go a long way towards adding the necessary pieces to the secondary, finding a nose tackle, and locking up Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell long term. These are moves that the Steelers have to make in order to make them a legitimate threat to bring home Lombardi Trophy number 7. As hard as it would be to see longtime players like Pouncey, Heath, and Suisham move on, the ultimate goal is to win a championship. The Steelers need to do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal.

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2 thoughts on “Steelers Need To Consider These Options For 2016

  1. I try to restructure Heath, like they did with Bettis. He is still a great force in the locker room.
    Trade Suisham, if possible. Try to recoup the Scobee draft pick.
    I think you are crazy about Pouncey. Wallace was terrible in pass protection and was rated as one of the worst centers in the league by PFF. I like his compete level and know he did the best he could, but he is a valuable second string player- nothing more.

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  2. I’m sure they will restructure Miller and a few others, along with Pouncey. I also know that Pouncey is much better than Wallace, only an idiot would say otherwise. What I am pointing out is, that the Steelers got to the playoffs with a backup center who did not adversely affect the offense, and they still rushed for around 1,600 yards. While he is not a Pro-Bowl center, Wallace is highly serviceable which would give the Steelers a viable option if they chose to go that way. If it is all about winning a Lombardi Trophy, and getting rid of Pouncey would help bring in a shutdown cornerback should they do it? After what we saw this season, which do they need more Pouncey, or a shutdown Corner? This is just about looking at options from a cash situation.

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