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Cap Class: Stephon Tuitt

www.SteelerNation.com

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!

Stephon Tuitt signed his contract on Saturday and all of Steeler Nation rejoiced! The Steelers locked up another great young player for 6 more years. Tuitt had 2 tremendous plays to start the season, and both were in the backfield. The first play of the game on defense, he nearly sacked Kizer, as he just missed him while lunging toward him. The next play he sniffed out the run, shot the gap and tackled the running back for a 5 yard loss. That was the end of his day.

Tuitt was diagnosed with a bicep injury. That was terrible news for a young star, just starting the new season, with his new contract. He could have been lost for the year! Fortunately, the football gods smiled down on Stephon and left him with only a mild bicep injury. One that he is expected to recover from within the next 3 weeks. With a collective breath of relief, Steeler fans can now again rejoice, since the young defensive end will be playing again soon.

Looking at his contract, the numbers worked out fantastically for the Steelers. Tuitt’s total contract was a 6 year $60M including an $11M signing bonus and $2M roster bonus. This year’s salary is set at $1M. This means Tuitt’s guaranteed money was his signing bonus, plus his roster bonus, plus his salary. Since he was on the team’s week 1 roster during the game, his salary and roster bonuses are guaranteed. So his guaranteed total was $11M + $2M + $1M = $14M.

Now we can look at the numbers to see how they affected the cap this year. First we have to look back a little since he was still under the last year of his rookie contract. Tuitt’s final year had him with a $1,048,560 salary and $418,081 prorated rookie signing bonus charge to equal a cap value of $1,466,641. Since he signed a new contract, his rookie salary is replaced by his new contract. His rookie salary amount increases the team cap value that amount ($1,048,560), but the Steelers still do have to account for his prorated rookie signing bonus amount of $418,081. Put a pin in it, we will come back to that number.

Tuitt’s new contract has an $11M signing bonus, prorated over 5 years to be an annual cap charge of $2.2M. I know it is a 6 year contract and that $11M divided by 6 years does not equal $2.2M. There is a rule in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that limits the maximum amount of years you can spread out a signing bonus to 5 years. So $11M divided by 5 years gives us the prorated amount of $2.2M per year for 5 years and $0 for prorated signing bonus in the 6th year.

Tuitt also has a $1M salary this year. He doesn’t need a higher salary since he gets all of his $13M in combined roster and signing bonuses. Roster bonuses can not be deferred and his $2M roster bonus counts against this year’s salary cap.

So to calculate Tuitt’s cap charge this year, you add his salary, + prorated signing bonus + remaining prorated rookie signing bonus + roster bonus. Or $1M + $2.2M + $418,081 + $2M = $5,618,081.

It’s a new contract, so some websites will be correcting this week as they gain information, but this website has the correct numbers for Tuitt, and showing the Steelers have nearly $3M of cap space:

http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/cap/

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