Per multiple reports the Steelers have restructured the contract of wide receiver Antonio Brown to help with their salary cap situation in 2018. Assuming that the Steelers converted all but $915,000 of his $13.875 million salary to a signing bonus the team should free up $9.72 million in cap space. The move will increase Brown’s salary cap charges in the remaining three years of his contract by $3.4 million to $22.17M (2019), $18.34M(2020), and $19.54M(2021).
Though Brown was never going anywhere anyway the restructure should virtually guarantee Brown’s 2019 roster status and increases the odds of his 2020 status as well. The move increases his dead money next year from $11.4M to $21.12M and $7.6M to $14.08M in 2020. As long as my estimate is correct on the bonus restructure the Steelers will have paid Brown $31.96 million in signing bonus money over the last two years. Those massive bonuses go a long way towards guaranteeing roster status even when salaries are not truly guaranteed.
The Steelers needed the cap space after applying a $14.5M franchise tag to running back Le’Veon Bell. It is unlikely given the tag number that the two sides will be able to agree to a contract anytime soon. The Steelers, per our estimates, should be about $1 million under the salary cap following the Brown restructure.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.