The Steelers need to offload salary to get under the 2021 NFL salary cap. Here are three stars Pittsburgh might need to cut to make that happen.
Not many NFL front offices enter the offseason with a bigger need to offload salary than the Steelers. It’s going to take some serious maneuvering to keep this roster full of talent and under next year’s salary cap. It’s clear several big-name players will be leaving Pittsburgh before they originally planned.
Ben Roethlisberger’s massive contract deserves a lot of the blame for the Steelers’ current predicament. He projects to take up 21.72 percent of the team’s salary cap next season. Pittsburgh will almost certainly restructure his deal to help alleviate that pressure, but it’s difficult to project how much room they can generate by altering the quarterback’s deal.
That’s why the Steelers’ front office will be forced to walk a tightrope this offseason. They want to remain Super Bowl contenders while better positioning their roster for the future at the same time. That’s going to be bad news for the following three veterans.
3. Joe Haden
Mark this down as a potential nuclear option for the Steelers. Cutting Haden loose would be a critical blow to the team’s secondary in 2021, but saving almost $13 million could open up a lot of intriguing possibilities for Pittsburgh.
After all, Haden wasn’t anything more than an average starter last season. He posted a solid, but unspectacular PFF grade of 66.6 in 14 games. Haden wasn’t a problem for Pittsburgh’s defense, but he wasn’t a terrific solution either.
Cutting the veteran corner should only be used as a last resort for the Steelers, but things could get that desperate this offseason for Pittsburgh.