Steelers are $8 million under projected salary cap

The Pittsburgh Steelers are more than $8 million under the 2015 salary cap if it comes in at $143 million, according to ESPN Roster Management.

An expected $10 million spike from last year’s spending ceiling and the restructuring of a pair of contacts put the Steelers at $8.025 million under if the cap is $143 million.

That puts the Steelers in pretty good shape with the start of the NFL’s new year – and the free agent signing period – still more than a week away. Both start on March 10 and the Steelers could easily create more cap room before then.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu is due a base salary of $6 million in 2015 and the eight-time Pro Bowler will probably have to accept a significant pay cut if he wants to return to the Steelers.

Restructuring the contract of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey is also an option after the Steelers re-worked the deals of right tackle Marcus Gilbert and free safety Mike Mitchell earlier this week.

Pouncey has a cap hit of $8.1 million in 2015. The Steelers could lower that by turning most of his $5.5 million base salary next season into a signing bonus and spreading the bonus over the remaining five years on Pouncey’s contract.

The Steelers should also gain some cap relief after they sign quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a long-term contract.

Roethlisberger is going into the final year of his contract and has a cap hit of $18.395 million.

The Steelers will presumably lower that when they sign Roethlisberger to a new deal that will likely include a huge signing bonus and escalating base salaries.

There aren’t any indications that the Steelers and Roethlisberger are close on a new contract.

It will get done and is still a matter of when and not if, a stance that the Steelers have consistently maintained.