Pittsburgh Steelers Show Camaraderie Early in Camp


Finally it has happened! For the first time this offseason, members of the Pittsburgh Steelers have actually impressed me with their moral conduct. Actually, scratch the impress me part, some players have downright made me proud they wear the black and gold.

It was no surprise the Steelers would have some serious spring-cleaning to do within a roster that was $10 million over the salary cap. With so many deals still needing to get finalized, I could picture Kevin Colbert toiling in his bed at night trying to figure out how to get all of the impending contracts worked out for the Steelers.

Well, just as leaders are supposed to do, many of the black and gold have elected to help the team by restructuring their contracts to get the Steelers under the cap for this coming season. We are not talking about some of the no-name players on the team reworking their deals; I’m talking about players such as Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, and Brett Kiesel who have all offered to restructure their contracts. These are players who have earned the right to make the money they do, and yet as we get ready to start the 2011 season, selflessness seems to be the overall theme within the team.

These restructured contracts will not be made official until they have been submitted to the NFL office for approval, but it appears there should be no problem getting these deals done as the Steelers continue to resign many of the key players who helped the black and gold get to the Super Bowl last season.

After Harrison so infamously ripped many of his teammates and the league commissioner in a recent Men’s Journal article, it is nice to see a sense of fellowship within the team so early in training camp. At yesterdays practice at Saint Vincent College, Ben Roethlisberger dawned a 78 jersey as the team took the field. Roethlisberger said he wore the jersey to honor his friend and former teammate Max Starks, who was cut from the roster late last week. Roethlisberger and Starks were both part of the ’04 draft class, and seemed to share a sincere friendship. I don’t believe Roethlisberger was making any silent protest over the dismissal of Starks, yet big Ben was showing how many of the players on the team have bonded over the last 8-years.

One reason these restructured contracts will have so much meaning, is the Steelers may not need to cut any more players for financial issues. While Colbert and the other executives seem to have the cap under control, the Steelers took the liberty to sign a few more free agents back into the mix. Back-up quarterback Dennis Dixon has resigned a one-year contract, as well as running back Mewelde Moore, and nose tackle Chris Hoke.

Up next for the Steelers…..getting a long term deal done with star linebacker Lamarr Woodley. The Steelers would also be able to create more cap room if they signed Woodley to a long-term contract and removed his franchise tag. The Steelers certainly plan to give Woodley the contract he deserves after dealing with the final few veteran contracts, which still need to be worked out in the coming weeks.

  • Goodtms

    Not that I am doubting the camaraderie, but the contract restructuring did not mean the players took less. Rather, it was the same effective amount and actually allowed them to enjoy more upfront pay. Because that upfront pay is amortized over the life of the contract, it in turn lowered this year’s cap hit.

  • brandt5094

    Goodtms…. I completely agree with you. I know it’s not like Ben,Harrison, and Kiesel are giving up half their pay checks to help out the team, but the offer to restructure was still made and I give those guys props for that. Ben easily could have said figure out how to get under the cap on your own I want my money the way we agreed, and the old Ben might have actually done that. I’m simply saying that the gesture of working with the team to make things work in order to put a team on the field that can get back to the Super Bowl and get back is a pleasant thing to see.

  • Goodtms

    @brandt5094

    I’m equally happy about them being able to restructure and keep the team together. But at the risk of of beating this to death, and it would appear you agree, no sane/rationale person is going to decline a simple restructuring of the contract. In these days of non-guaranteed contracts they would be fools. Except in those instances when we are asking for a pay reduction (completely different story), it is a win/win.

    PLAYER PERSPECTIVE

    Fictional Current Contract: Yr1=$6M; Yr2=$6M; Yr3=$6M = $18M

    Fictional Restructure: $10M cash now; Yr1=$1M ; Yr2=3.5M; Yr2=$3.5M ——– I would certainly prefer the money now.

    TEAM PERSPECTIVE/CAP IMPACT

    Yr1=$4.3M (helps team by $1.7M); Yr2: $6.8M ; Yr3: $6.8M — impacts the latter years when cap likely goes up but helps this year

    Not only does the player get guaranteed money faster but they are also able to help maintain a more competitive team on the field…. which then translates into better endorsements, jersey sales, etc etc

    Either way…. looking forward to a great season.