December 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks at the scoreboard and reacts to a holding call on the Steelers against the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown restructure contracts to save Steelers cap space

With free agency set to begin March 12, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of work to do in order to get under the salary cap, just in order to deal with their own free agents, much less sign free agents from other teams.

Thursday, they took a big step in at least getting closer to getting under the cap.

Both quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown restructured their existing contracts to help save the Steelers $9 million of cap space for the 2013 season.

The Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette is reporting that Roethlisberger’s redone contract will save the Steelers $3 million for next season.

December 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) runs after a pass reception against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Per other sources, including ESPN, Big Ben’s restructured deal actually will save the Steelers $6 million.

The same can be said for Brown, as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that Brown’s restructured deal, done on Wednesday, will also save the team an additional $3 million.

Florio reports that per a source with knowledge of the transaction, Brown reduced his $4.5 million base salary to a minimum salary of $650,000.

The remaining $3.85 million was converted to a signing bonus, which will be spread over the five remaining years of Brown’s contract. Overall it results in a cap savings of $3.08 million to the Steelers.

In addition, the Steelers saved about $5 million by restructuring the deal of linebacker Lawrence Timmons earlier in the week.

By saving $14 million this week, the Steelers are getting closer to even when it comes to the cap, but they still have a lot of work to do in order to not only be able to sign their free agents, but their draft picks as well.

However this is a big step towards doing so, as I expect the Steelers to do the same with LaMarr Woodley which would save them even more money.

Then a decision must be made on James Harrison, which could get the team likely under the cap for the time being if he is released or his deal is restructured, which seems doubtful.

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Tags: Antonio Brown Ben Roethlisberger Lawrence Timmons Pittsburgh Steelers

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