Cap Class: Ryan Switzer

By: G.Stryker

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.

Ryan Switzer is now the newest Pittsburgh Steeler, since they acquired him and Oakland’s 6th round pick for next year’s 5th round pick. So the value of swapping picks, only separated by 1 round, to gain a player, is quite high.

The Steelers are obviously concerned with Marcus Tucker’s ankle injury, that he just suffered in Saturday’s game against the Titans. This may lead to Tucker being placed on Injured Reserve, or being released with an injury settlement. Eli Rogers was supposed to be the emergency receiver on the PUP, but since he tested positive for violating the substance abuse policy, he has to wait another game, after he is activated, before he can play football again. This left the Steelers very thin at the second slot position, and with Quadree Henderson being too raw, the Steelers went outside of the organization to fill that need.

Not only did the Steelers find a viable slot receiver, but they also found an experienced and successful returner. Switzer is now projected to be the punt returner, and should also replace Fitzgerald Toussaint as a kick returner. A collective sigh of relief from many Steeler fans, knowing Antonio Brown is no longer needed to return punts, and can just concentrate on being the best receiver in the league.

So for swapping picks, one round apart in the draft, the Steelers gained a slot receiver, kick returner, and punt returner. Three positions solidified with one player. Kevin Colbert did his homework again this year, as he did last year picking up the talented tight end, Vance McDonald. I think he also learned how beneficial it was to pick up a player who was already under contract, and whose signing bonus has already been paid for by another team.

In 2017, Ryan Switzer was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 4th round, and they signed him to a 4 year $2.97M contract. The signing bonus was $568,984, and when they traded him to Oakland last year, the Dallas Cowboys were financially responsible for the prorated portion of his contract. So the contract now has no guaranteed money, and he is signed through the 2020 season. If the Steelers choose to release him in any of the off-seasons leading up to his 2020 season, the Steelers would have no dead money against their cap from releasing him.

The trade value for acquiring Switzer his high, but his salary and cap hit are quite low. His salary this season is only $555K rising to $645K next year, and peaking at $735K in 2020. Kudos to the front office for getting another contributor on offense and special teams, without having to break the bank, or give up too much draft value. Hopefully, he will be an integral piece for another Super Bowl run.

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