Steelers Restructure Contract of Newly Acquired Starter: Report

Mike Tomlin Donte Jackson

Getty Head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers restructured cornerback Donte Jackson's contract according to Over the Cap.

The Pittsburgh Steelers received criticism for acquiring cornerback Donte Jackson because of his cap hit. But the Steelers have fixed that issue.

Over the Cap reported on March 18 that the Steelers and Jackson agreed to a new 1-year deal with $4.75 million guaranteed.

That means, according to Over the Cap, Jackson will have a $6 million cap hit in 2024. His original cap hit for the upcoming season was $10.52 million.

The Steelers acquired Jackson from the Carolina Panthers in a trade for wide receiver Diontae Johnson on March 12. The teams also agreed to exchange late Day 3 selections.

Pittsburgh received the No. 178 overall pick while Carolina got the No. 240 selection.

Steelers Open Additional Cap Space With New Donte Jackson Contract

With Jackson’s new deal, the Steelers have created a little more cap space. Over the Cap reported on March 18 that the Steelers have $15.65 million in space remaining this offseason.

That currently ranks 22nd in the NFL.

But the Steelers could add more cap space with other contract restructures or extensions this offseason. The top candidates for those re-worked deals in Pittsburgh are on the defensive side of the ball.’s All Steelers’ Noah Strackbein named edge rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith along with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick as contract restructure candidates. Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward could receive an extension as well to alleviate his $22.4 million cap hit.

Watt, Heyward, Fitzpatrick and Highsmith currently account for roughly 34% of the team’s cap space.

After Jackson’s restructure, the Steelers have a new cornerback starter who will have a $6 million cap hit. Jackson started 16 games for the Panthers last season, posting 59 combined tackles with 5 pass defenses.

In 80 NFL games, Jackson has recorded 303 combined tackles, 46 pass defenses and 14 interceptions. He has started 76 games in his career.

Remaining Needs to Fill for Steelers

Lowering Jackson’s cap hit turns the Steelers a little bit more into winners from the Jackson-Johnson deal. But the extra cap space is most important.

The Steelers still have needs at center, wide receiver, and safety. The team could also use additional depth along the defensive line and at cornerback.

The possibility of Pittsburgh adding a new right tackle and flipping 2023 first-rounder Broderick Jones to left tackle to replace Dan Moore Jr. exists too.

General manager Omar Khan will use the draft to fill several of those needs. The Steelers could potentially land their next starting center and a No. 2 wide receiver in the first two rounds of the draft.

But the Steelers likely aren’t done in free agency either. The big-named players are signed, but Khan could add quality depth players on affordable prices over the next few weeks.

How many additions he can make could depend on how successful he is at continuing to restructure contracts of other players on the Steelers defense.

According to Over the Cap, the Steelers rank second in the AFC North in cap space as of March 18. The Cincinnati Bengals are among the league leaders in salary cap room with about $30.9 million left to spend.

The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns have roughly $14.1 million and $5.9 million remaining, respectively.

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