Steeler restructures---committing cap suicide
It looks like as many as 5-6 Steelers will be restructuring their contracts to get below the 3/12 cap deadline.
The names I've heard taking restructures: Roethlisberger, Timmons, Woodley, and Antonio Brown. James Harrison is likely going to be cut and asked to return at a lesser salary.
IMO, this is the absolute best thing for the rest of the AFC North. The Steelers are no longer a Super Bowl contending team. The core of players that they have still has some good players in it, but they simply do not have the depth or the youth needed to overtake the four elite AFC franchises or the two emerging ones (Cincy and Indy). If they can't get out of the first round of the playoffs/into the playoffs for two straight years when their core was in their late 20s/early 30s, how can they expect to do it now with essentially the same core now two years older? They needed to add better, younger talent around that core, and instead they just keep robbing Peter to pay Paul. By doing this, they are basically anchoring themselves to the same 10-12 aging players, without having the cap room to attract any younger free agents. This philosophy has taken them from SB contenders to non-factor in the short time of two years. Instead of moving on from their aging vets and replacing them with younger, cheaper, higher-upsided talent (a la the Ravens) they have for half a decade now continued to pay these guys over market value to keep them in Pittsburgh. The only way for the Steelers to get back in the mix is to blow up their roster and rebuild around guys like Timmons/Big Ben/DeCastro/Pouncey and hope they are back in the mix by 2014 or 2015. Instead, they are going to pin their hopes of the future to a bunch of overpaid 30 plusers.
All the reports I'm seeing say on ESPN that these restructures will drop the Steelers down to $7.5 million OVER the cap. Frankly, I don't think that's correct, unless these restructures were enormous. Prior to any restructures, the Steelers were $23 million over the cap by my calculations. That would be roughly $4-5 million per restructure saved on 2013 just to get them down to $7 million. My guess is that the people who are giving these cap calculations weren't factoring in RFA tenders.
More details below.