As it stands today, the Pittsburgh Steelers have roughly three million dollars in available cap space for the 2020 season. That number does not include key players like Bud Dupree and Javon Hargrave, both of whom the team is likely to loose via free agency. Kevin Colbert is going to have to find ways to increase the team’s cap space in order to fill out his roster for next season. One way to do that is to cut veteran players who are not living up to their cap numbers. Here are the top five candidates to be let go for cap saving purposes:
1. Mark Barron – $5.25 million
At this point this seems like a no-brainer. The only reason Barron was brought here to begin with was as insurance in case the Steelers couldn’t get a player like Devin Bush in the draft. The combination of Bush and Vince Williams has been excellent, meaning the team does not need a eight million dollar back up like Barron at the position. Expect Barron to be among the first players cut this off-season, if he’s not traded before the deadline.
2. Anthony Chickillo – $5 million
Most of us can’t figure out why this contact was given out in the first place. Five million per year for a backup linebacker is a pretty steep price to pay. The recent off the field issues Chickillo is now going through make it tough to see him making it to next week, let alone next season. This is an easy extra five million to add on to next year’s salary cap.
3. Alejandro Villanueva – $5 million
This one is more likely to be a trade than a outright cut. Villanueva would have quite a bit of value despite what looks like deteriorating skills. Left tackles are always among the most coveted positions in the league, meaning the team could expect a high draft pick in return. The Steelers have depth here with players like Zach Banner and Chuks Okorafor. Don’t be surprised if Kevin Colbert flips Villanueva for draft assets and some much needed cap relief.
4. Donte Moncrief – $4 million
Here is another player who probably won’t see the end of 2019 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Putting aside his horrendous play on the field, the team stands to lose it’s compensatory pick for Le’Veon Bell if Moncrief remains on the roster all season. The Steelers need to make a move by week ten in order to recoup the third round pick for losing Bell in free agency.
5. Ramon Foster – $4 million
This will be a tough loss for the Steelers on the field, and especially off of it. Foster has been a steady member of the offensive line for years, and a leader in the club house as well. At 34 years old his play has begun to slip however. Add to that a ready made replacement in BJ Finney, and this move seems inevitable.
With all these moves the Steelers are looking at a cap savings of nearly $25 million dollars. Kevin Colbert could also extend a few contracts to lower cap hits on veterans like Cam Heyward and Vance McDonald for instance. The 2020 cap number isn’t as bad as it looks on the surface, but Kevin Colbert has work to do in order to have room to make the necessary moves the team needs.