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Are the Steelers in a Salary Cap Nightmare?

by Santé Shasko

Photo by Justin Berl for Getty Images.

The 2020-2021 Pittsburgh Steelers team took all of their fans on a rollercoaster ride. Fans saw them start off 11-0 and then finish 12-4, losing four out of the last five games of the season.

The season came to an end in the Wild Card round of the playoffs when the Cleveland Browns defeated the Steelers 48-37.  

This was a brutal way to end the year, but what comes next might be the real loss.  

Due to the way the Steelers have handled their cap situation, along with the NFL decreasing the cap number 8 percent from last year to $182.5 million per team. The salary cap was decreased this season because the pandemic created a revenue shortfall.

Since the start of Free Agency in March, the Steelers have lost key names such as Bud Dupree, Mike Pouncey, Matt Feiler, Mike Hilton, and Avery Williamson.

This has also caused the Steelers to have to cut their starting Cornerback, Steven Nelson, and longtime Middle LinebackerVince Williams. These moves were made only to make sure they could be under the salary cap, and free up some money for the team to use on other players.

Photo by Don Wright for the AP.

So far, the Steelers have lost seven starters from the 2020-21 season, five of which were from the defense.  

However, the Steelers have managed to retain a few of their own players, such as Juju Smith-Schuster, Cameron Sutton, Tyson Alualu, and Zach Banner. They also gained new additions in Kalen Ballage and Miles Killerbrew on shortterm deals. 

The Steelers are currently sitting at 21st in the league in cap space with $9 million.

They will have very crucial decisions to make coming ahead. Next year, they will have to pay top defensive players TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrickand that will be far from cheap.

The Steelers have a lot of problems to solve heading into the new season and the draft coming up in April.

They have a few of their own key free agents still available, like Running Back James Conner and Offensive Tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

Photo by Charles Le Claire for USA TODAY.

The Steelers have glaring holes at offensive line, running back, cornerback, linebacker, and the future of the quarterback position. Although Ben Roethlisberger decided to take a pay cut to help the team in cap space, he has a $25 million cap hit. This is not ideal for a quarterback at 39 years old coming off a season where in the second half looked tired and beat up. 

This seems to be Big Ben’s final rodeo in the upcoming 2021-2022 season so the Steelers need to determine if Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins, or someone else are the future of the Pittsburgh Steelers as quarterback. 

The Steelers roster is getting older, running out of money, has holes to fill at multiple positions, and needs to address the future of the quarterback position before it’s too late.  

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