According to Albert Breer of NFL.com the Steelers are close to restructuring the contract of QB Ben Roethlisberger for cap relief. Breer reports that this will be a renegotiation rather than an extension, which is not that uncommon for most Quarterbacks in the league to do and has become an annual ritual for Ben and the Steelers.
If the two sides do come to an agreement it will mark the third renegotiation for Roethlisberger since singing his 6 year extension in March of 2008. In 2011 Roethlisberger reduced his cap charge from $15.8 million to $11.32 million by converting by $5.6 million of his salary into a signing bonus. The Steelers again went to Ben for relief in 2012 this time reducing his cap number from $16.92 million to $8.89 million this time converting $10.7 million of salary into a signing bonus.
What could we expect this time? With the team estimated to be close to $14 million over the salary cap and few avenues for cap relief I would imagine a restructure very similar to last year. If Roethlisberger took a salary this year of $840,000 rather than $11,600,000 and converting the difference to a signing bonus it would create over $7.17 million in cap room reducing his cap number from $19.595 million to $12.421 million and change.
Of course that would increase his future cap charges by nearly $3.587 million a year, but it gives the team significant cap relief now. At some point many of these restructures that the Steelers are doing may come back to haunt them on their salary cap, but for a franchise QB in the prime of his career this moves are rarely the reason a team finds itself in trouble in the future.