Steelers Roll Over Unused Cap Space to 2021

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The Pittsburgh Steelers will soon be in salary cap hell, but one small bit of good news is that Pittsburgh didn’t use all of its salary cap space in 2020. According to Field Yates of ESPN (and the NFL Players Association’s Public Salary Cap Report) the team has been able to carry over $3,081,389 to 2021 while having spent $196,423,070 of the $198.2 million salary cap in 2020. As such Pittsburgh currently has $4,950,554 in cap space, albeit just 59 current contracts (per the NFLPA), second lowest in the league next to the Atlanta Falcons, who have 55.

As noted by Yates, “the NFL will audit these amounts after calculating incentives and cap credits from this year. The final amounts will be added to each team’s cap for 2021.”


The Rest of the AFC North

As for Pittsburgh’s AFC North rivals, the Baltimore Ravens are carrying over $445,198 and have a league low $586,823 in cap space with 85 current contracts.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Cleveland Browns have a huge carryover of $31,809,095 and a league high $30,366,604 in cap room despite 90 current contracts.

As for the Cincinnati Bengals, they carry over $10,811,393 and currently have $10,792,274 in cap room with 67 current contracts.

It’s already been established that the 2021 salary cap will be a minimum of $175 million, and one recent report indicated that the cap is expected to come in at approximately $180 million.

But a cap that drops by $18 million or so would be potentially devastating to the Steelers, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger currently counts $41.2 million against the 2021 cap and will count a minimum of $22.5 million, even if he retires or is released. The latter number is similar to the dead money cap hit the Steelers absorbed in 2019 after trading Antonio Brown to the Los Angeles Raiders.


Super Bowl XIV: January 20, 1980

On a happier note, today is the 40th anniversary of Pittsburgh’s fourth Super Bowl victory, a 31-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Strangely, Super Bowl XIV pitted the two most turnover-prone teams in the NFL. In 1979 the Steelers led the NFL in turnovers with 52; the Rams committed the second-most turnovers that year with 49.

If you include the postseason the Steelers committed 60 turnovers in 1979-80. But it could have been worse, as the Steelers recovered 21 fumbles that year.

Basically, the Steelers overcame all those turnovers with the No. 1 offense in the NFL, one that scored an average of 26 points a game.

Pittsburgh’s worst game of the 1979 season from a turnover perspective came in Week 7 at Cincinnati, with two interceptions and seven fumbles lost for a total of nine. The second-worst game came in Week 12 at San Diego, when the Steelers committed eight turnovers in a 35-7 loss. The Steelers went turnover-free in just one game during the 1979 season.

During this past offseason former Steelers wide receiver John Stallworth and former Steelers safety Donnie Shell recalled what transpired in Super Bowl XIV for a new edition of NFL ‘Game Rewind.’

Among other things, Stallworth discussed the signature play from that game—60 Prevent Slot Hook and Go—which produced a 73-yard Terry Bradshaw to John Stallworth touchdown reception that gave the Steelers the lead in the fourth quarter.

“For a play that never worked in practice it was a very timely play in the Super Bowl,” noted Stallworth.

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