Per a report by ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro has agreed to restructure his contract by converting a portion of his 2020 salary into a signing bonus. The move creates a reported $3.85 million in salary cap savings this year, according to Yates.
DeCastro, 30, has two seasons remaining on his current contract. The restructure turns much of the nine-year veteran’s $8.75 million salary into a bonus, lowering his 2020 cap charge below $10 million. But the move creates additional liability next season, as DeCastro’s scheduled cap charge for 2021 is now $14,297,500, up from $10,447,500 according to OverTheCap.com.
Despite being on the wrong side of 30, DeCastro is still considered one of the best offensive guards in the league. For its part, Pro Football Focus has him rated as the sixth-best guard in the NFL.
But the All-Pro has been plagued by injury during this year’s training camp, with the injury suffered during last Friday’s mock road game the most notable development. Historically, durability hasn’t been a problem for DeCastro. In fact, he played all 995 of the team’s offensive snaps last year.
Age a Concern for Pittsburgh’s Offensive Line
However, the Steelers are expected to pursue a youth movement on the offensive line, likely sooner rather than later, as DeCastro, center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva are all at least 30 years old. Villanueva, a pending unrestricted free agent in 2021—and one of the team’s top 5 pending UFA’s entering 2021—could be the first to be replaced.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are hoping that rookie fourth-round pick Kevin Dotson becomes a big part of the aforementioned youth movement, not to mention the new left guard. The team needs a new long-term answer at the position in the wake of Ramon Foster’s recent retirement.
Dotson suffered a knee injury on the second day of training camp, but he has since returned to practice. By all accounts he has looked good, even getting some repetitions with the first-team offense, a sign that he could become a contributor sooner rather than later.
In a virtual interview on Monday, Dotson said the fact that he has been faring well against his teammates on the defensive line—including standouts Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt—is giving him confidence.
“I’d say it’s given me a lot of confidence because I feel like I can hold my own against them,” Dotson said. “I know that’s quality competition, and if I can hold up against them, I can hold up against a lot of people.”
Dotson is also grateful that his veteran teammates on the offensive line have been willing to mentor him in an effort to accelerate his development.
“All of them kind of take me under their wing,” he said. “Anytime they see me messing up, they kind of correct it or help me. I feel like Villanueva’s probably one of the most vocal to me. He feels like I’m in the situation he was when he first got here; he was on practice squad and stuff like that.”
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