Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Steelers Restructure Lawrence Timmons To Help Get Under Salary Cap, Roethlisberger Next

That was the tweet that Albert Breer of NFL Network sent out Tuesday morning. Lawrence Timmons' contract was the first to be restructured as Omar Khan and the Pittsburgh Steelers work to get under the 2013 NFL Salary Cap. Per Breer: "The move will free up approximately $5 million in salary-cap space for the Steelers" of the six-year, $50 million deal Timmons signed in 2011. - http://tinyurl.com/aclwuvj

Breer and others have pointed out that it was Timmons' roster bonus and another $4 million of his base salary that were combined and turned into a signing bonus in order to add up to the $5 million in Salary Cap savings. His, therefore was easy and, for lack of a better word, safe. The same may not necessarily be said for Ben Roethlisberger's deal.

Big Ben's base salary this seaaon is $11.6 million. The Steelers could convert over $10.6 million into a guarantee which would create $7.1 million in Salary Cap space reduction. But, as Pro Football Talk establishes, it may mortgage the future because "with a base salary of $12.1 million due in 2014, it converts to a minimum cap number of $18.325 million next year." - http://tinyurl.com/anptys7

With no extension, this wouldn't seem like a good thing when looking at the bigger picture. It would seem like more Salary Cap hell yet again next season. But, again as Breer speculates, that's just what the Steelers may look to do with their franchise quarterback.

"The Steelers' precedent has been to extend quarterbacks with two years left on their contracts," Breer commented, "and that would mean Roethlisberger could get a new deal next offseason."

That would be much easier on the Steelers and their needs to sign needed players, and it aids Big Ben in that he gets a really big check now (which is basically all a restructure is) and assures his future as a Steeler.

Maybe of even greater note Tuesday, though, was Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette reporting that the team met with James Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, at the NFL combine. Harrison, who will count $10.035 million against the Cap in 2013, so the meeting would seem to have been about that and a possible restructure.

The only viable way, however, to keep him is to ask him to take a pay cut. Parise had previously said that Harrison wouldn't take a reduction, but that the option wasn't discussed and the sides plan to meet again.

One can only hope that something gives, because there will be a degree of instability at the position next season with no real successor being groomed.