Cap Class: Final Cuts


Cap Class is a series where I break down the cap to find the amounts associated with the roster, dead money, or future cost of players. Dollar amounts and cap cost may not be exciting, but they can be interesting when you look inside the numbers. I will place explanations inside of {braces}, so if you know how those numbers are found, you can skip over them. So grab your pencils and calculators, and let’s do some math!

What an interesting preseason for the Steelers. This year finds them with a glut of talent at QB, RB, WR, OLB, ILB, CB, and S. They are going to have some tough decisions on who to keep and who to cut. With so many players playing well, sometimes final cuts come down to the player’s salary and how much cap savings the team can receive by cutting or trading that player.

First we will look at the quarterbacks. Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph just played their best game as a Steeler last night. Dobbs had a touchdown passing and one with his legs. Rudolph had 2 TDs and ran to score a tough 2 point conversion. Both are very good depth quarterbacks that will be on an NFL roster this season, but the Steelers seem intent to keep Rudolph to develop. This creates a situation where the Steelers have to cut or trade one of their 4 QBs. I believe a trade will be done today for either Landry Jones or Josh Dobbs. If we’re looking at this purely from a cap savings perspective, Jones is the one to move. Jones would save $1.9M in cap space, while only carrying $300k in dead money. Dobbs would be $555k in savings with nearly $140k in dead money. {So keeping Dobbs over Landry is Landry’s cap savings $1.9M minus Dobbs cap hit rounded up to $695k to yield $1.205M in extra cap room.

At punter, the teams also have a camp battle going on. The Steelers seem to like Jordan Berry, but Matt Wile is kicking very well. If the Steelers choose to keep Wile over Berry, they save $1.907M while only having to pay Wile $555k. {The cap difference, subtracting Berry’s cap savings from Wile’s cap hit, would be a cap savings of $1.352M}. If the Steelers need that money, this could be a move they’d make.

There aren’t a whole lot of cuts/trades that gain much more cap space, but a few more can make some cents:

If traded or cut, Darrius Heyward-Bey is $1.2M in savings. If Marcus Tucker was healthy, this move could happen, but without knowing the severity of Tucker’s ankle injury, this move is now more unlikely.

Coty Sensabaugh is having a very good preseason. His understanding of the defense has improved, and he is making plays, both in practice, and in preseason games. If cut or traded, Coty saves the Steelers $1.4M in cap space. Is that cap savings enough for the Steelers to keep a younger player over Coty? We’ll find out on Saturday at the latest.

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