Steelers’ 2024 Post-Draft Cash Spending Update Shows There’s Room for ‘Important Playmaker’ Addition

Steelers’ 2024 Post-Draft Cash Spending Update Shows There’s Room for ‘Important Playmaker’ Addition

With the 2024 NFL Draft now behind us, I know most of you have been sitting on your black and gold pins and needles waiting for a cash spending update for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s the case, right? Well, if so, today is your lucky day. This article also provides insight into the potential of a “big playmaker” on offense.

Currently, and not including the seven 2024 draft picks and five undrafted free agents, the Steelers’ total cash spending for their top 53 players currently under contract is just $191,171,168. Now, we have to account for several things beyond that total, including signing bonuses owed to all rookies, plus a $4 million cash charge for the team’s planned practice squad. team for the 2024 season.

Steelers rookies, and that includes all seven 2024 draft picks, are estimated to have signing bonuses totaling approximately $13.14 million. Add in the $4 million for a practice squad, and we get about $17.14 million that needs to be added to the top 53 cash outlay total of $191,171,168. In short, we currently have a total assumed cash flow forecast for 2024 of approximately $208,572,000. That’s about 81.7% of the NFL’s 2024 salary cap, or $255.4 million, in terms of cash against the cap.

Now, if you recall, I predicted much earlier in the offseason that the Steelers would spend at least $235 million in cash in 2024. That’s just a projection, mind you, and it’s tough to do, with 2024 being the first year of the NFL’s three-year cash spending period within the CBA. Nothing says the Steelers can’t or won’t spend more or less than that $235 million total in 2024. That’s just an educated guess on my part, and I can assure everyone that it will not be accurate.

By the way, a cash outlay of $235 million in 2024 is still only 92% of the league’s cap for 2024, so it’s a reasonable projection. Remember, teams must spend at least 90% of the NFL’s three-year total cap on cash during that time frame.

Let’s assume my total spending of $235 million on the Steelers in 2024 is correct, or at the very least, relatively close. As things stand at the start of May, the Steelers are still about $26.5 million short of the projected cash outlay of $235 million. But wait, there will be more spending to come, or at least I think so.

The Steelers are very likely to sign TE Pat Freiermuth to a contract extension later this summer. If they do, I could imagine about $13 million more in cash being spent on such a deal. I anticipate this, if we’re honest.

I think we could also see something done with DT Cameron Heyward’s contract later this summer. Could this be an expansion? If so, will this include new and therefore additional liquidity in 2024 as part of an extension? Personally, I’m betting against spending any extra money. That said, determining whether this will in fact be the case is a crucial piece of this cash flow projection puzzle.

If an extension for Heyward ultimately happens, and if no new money is added in 2024 as part of such a deal, it obviously won’t move the spending needle at all. Again, the proof will be made when and if this is done.

If my projection regarding Heyward is indeed correct, that obviously leaves the Steelers with about $13.5 million in cash spending that they would need to reach my $235 million projection.

What fits that $13.5 million spot perfectly? How about a contract belonging to either DK Metcalf or Courtland Sutton, who are currently members of the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, respectively? Metcalf and Sutton are each expected to earn a base salary of $13 million in 2024. How coincidental is that? Remember, my $235 million cash spending projection for the Steelers for 2024 was made several weeks ago and thus well before all this speculation about Metcalf and Sutton really started to pick up steam, if you call it that.

Now, most of you who have followed this site and my articles over the years probably know that I don’t usually do a lot of business speculation. In the past, the Steelers cap and cash situation really prevented me from doing this. Plus, it was pretty easy to predict the Steelers when Kevin Colbert was the team’s general manager. With Omar Khan since he took over from Colbert, we don’t have much of a track record. Additionally, Khan appears to be much more aggressive than Colbert ever was in certain areas such as offseason roster building.

As I begin to wrap up this article, no, I’m not going to sit here and firmly predict that the Steelers will trade for Metcalf or Sutton once June 1st passes. I will say that acquiring either player still seems plausible. right away. I’m watching the Seahawks’ cap maneuvers daily right now, because they have a lot coming up. If a restructuring of Metcalf’s contract ultimately becomes part of such cap-clearing maneuvers in the coming days or weeks, then you can officially rule him out as a potential Steelers trade target.

Why would the Seahawks even consider trading Metcalf after June 1? I’ve been asked this question a lot since I wrote about his contract. I honestly don’t have a good answer to this question, other than maybe cap reasons and if the team wants to go in another direction. Honestly, they have more reason to hold him than trade him, but stranger things have happened before. As for Sutton, it’s more credible that the Broncos could decide to trade him at any time, and especially after June 1, when they can reduce their dead money load on him for 2024.

In conclusion, these are hard cash spending numbers to date for the Steelers, mixed with plenty of speculation about where else money could be spent by the team in the future. I want to clarify that these are just projections and, on top of that, the fact that we are in the first year of a three-year CBA period makes these projections even more difficult to achieve.

All in all, the Steelers will have more cash spending to come, after signing their rookies. I can almost guarantee it. How much more money he will spend in the future and on what is anyone’s guess, but don’t be surprised if some of that money goes toward acquiring a wide receiver via trade. Calculating cash expenses works at least in this area. It’s scary how well it works, honestly.