Pittsburgh Steelers Rumors & News

NFLPA Announces Cap Carryover Amounts

The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.

Here are this year’s carryover totals:

  1. Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
  3. San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
  4. Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
  5. Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
  6. Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
  7. Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
  8. Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
  9. Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
  10. Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
  11. Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
  12. Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
  13. Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
  14. Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
  15. New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
  16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
  17. New England Patriots: $5,292,335
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
  19. Houston Texans: $4,935,924
  20. Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
  21. Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
  23. Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
  24. Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
  25. Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
  26. Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
  27. New York Giants: $1,800,000
  28. Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
  29. Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
  30. New York Jets: $371,487
  31. Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
  32. Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693

Martavis Bryant "On A Mission To Come Back"

  • In the wake of Tuesday’s news that suspended Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will soon apply for reinstatement, agent Thomas Santanello told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his client is “clean” and “on a mission to come back” (via Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk). Bryant, 24, is currently serving his second substance abuse-related ban – this one a yearlong suspension – since he entered the NFL in 2014, but Santanello insists the highly talented offensive weapon has put his drug issues behind him. “He’s working out four days a week, watches film. He’s in the best shape he’s ever been in. He’s added 10 pounds of solid muscle. He’s a new person,” Santanello continued.

Martavis Bryant To Apply For Reinstatement

Suspended Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will apply for reinstatement “in the near future,” one of his agents, Thomas Santanello, announced Tuesday (via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com). Bryant won’t be eligible to return until March, one year after the NFL suspended him for violating its substance abuse policy.

Martavis Bryant

Although Bryant’s Steelers are preparing to face the Patriots in the AFC title game this Sunday, the 2016 campaign will go down as a lost season for the 25-year-old. Bryant is serving his second suspension since he entered the pros in 2014.

Previously, Bryant sat four games in 2015 for multiple substance abuse violations. Marijuana usage was at the root of the penalty then, but Bryant’s current suspension came as a result of multiple missed drug tests. Bryant elected against appealing the ban, as he deemed it an “unwinnable” situation, and decided to enter rehab for depression issues.

If Bryant’s off-field troubles are behind him and he does come back next season, his presence could be a boon to an already high-octane Steeler attack. However, there’s no guarantee the franchise would welcome him back.

“We are very disappointed that Martavis Bryant has put himself in this current situation of being suspended by the League,” the Steelers said in a statement last March. He is at a crossroads of his professional life, and he needs to understand significant changes need to occur in his personal life if he wants to regain his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler. We are hopeful that Martavis will take the necessary steps to develop the discipline in his personal life to become a successful player and a good teammate.”

When on the field, Bryant has been a major threat. The ex-Clemson Tiger caught 50 passes for 765 yards and eight touchdowns in just 11 games last season. That came after he hauled in eight scores and averaged a whopping 21.1 yards per catch in 10 games as a rookie. All told, the 6-foot-4, 211-pounder has amassed 76 receptions, 14 scores and posted a 17.3 YPC in 21 games. Should he don a Pittsburgh uniform in 2017, he’d join an Antonio Brown-led receiving corps that also includes Eli Rogers and Sammie Coates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Antonio Brown Extension Possibility

When the Steelers restructured the contract of Antonio Brown prior to the 2016 campaign, the club promised Brown that it would extend an offer of a new deal at the conclusion of the season. That agreement is reportedly still in place, and as such, Brown is poised to “cash in,” according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links), who adds that Brown has a chance to become the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL.Antonio Brown (vertical)

[RELATED: Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart]

Last August, Pittsburgh converted some of Brown’s 2017 base salary into a signing bonus (meaning Brown received more money immediately), but also changed some of Brown’s 2016 base salary into a bonus in order to reduce the salary cap effects. All told, the moves increased Brown’s 2016 cap charge by about $500K. The transaction was largely a show of good faith, as the Steelers did not want to violate their rule of not extending players with more than one year left on their contract.

That internal team precedent won’t come into play this offseason, however, as Brown is only signed through the 2017 season. At present, he is set to earn a base salary of $4.71MM and carry a cap number of $13.618MM. An extension would presumably lower that cap charge, but could also make Brown the most highly-compensated pass-catcher in the league. On an annual salary basis, that honor currently belongs to the Bengals’ A.J. Green ($15MM). In terms of guarantees, the Falcons’ Julio Jones leads the way with $35.5MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/11/17

Wednesday’s minor moves:

Reserve/Futures Contracts

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Practice Squad

Pittsburgh Steelers

Todd Haley Open To HC Jobs

Last year, when teams came calling for Todd Haley, he said “Thanks, but no thanks.” This time around, the Steelers offensive coordinator would interview for a head-coaching vacancy, if asked, a source tells Mike Florio of PFT. Todd Haley (vertical)

[RELATED: Steelers To Franchise Le’Veon Bell, Want To Extend Antonio Brown]

Haley was identified as a potential candidate for the Dolphins early in their search process last year, but his name didn’t surface after that for any openings around the league and that’s presumably because he turned them away. For one reason or another, Haley is now open to a second head coaching stint.

Haley’s first run as a head coach came with the Chiefs. That stint lasted two-and-a-half seasons as KC went 19-26 with one playoff berth. In 2012, Haley joined up with the Steelers and he has restored his image as an offensive guru by steering Ben Roethlisberger & Co. to success, though he does have some of the game’s best weapons at his disposal, including Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.

The Steelers take on Haley’s former team, the Chiefs, on Sunday afternoon. If the Steelers have a deep playoff run, it might be a while before Haley can interview. Of course, that’s also a non-issue until a team actually requests and interview with him. So far, to our knowledge, that hasn’t happened in this cycle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Franchise Le’Veon Bell, Want To Extend Antonio Brown

We heard last month that the Steelers were expected to put the franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell this offseason, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported today that Pittsburgh will indeed franchise their star running back.

Le'Veon Bell (Vertical)

The tag will be about $12.3MM for running backs, and after the Steelers use it on Bell, the two sides will have a few months to work out a long-term contract. If they cannot, Bell could play out the 2017 season under the tag and be eligible for free agency again next offseason.

There are complications to a multi-year deal, of course. Bell has a history of off-field trouble, having been been suspended in each of the past two seasons, and he sustained knee injuries in 2014 and 2015. But when he’s on the field, he’s one of the most dynamic playmakers in the game, both as a runner and as a receiver. Despite missing four games this season, Bell ranked first in the NFL in touches per game (28.0) and scrimmage YPG (157.0), and he was second in rushing YPG (105.7). From Weeks 4-16–Bell was suspended for the first three weeks of the season and was rested for the team’s meaningless Week 17 contest–he led the NFL in touches (336) and scrimmage yards (1,884).

It appears that the Steelers are comfortable with Bell’s health and they seem to believe that his off-field issues are behind him, as a long-term deal is considered likely at this point. While Bell is unlikely to reach Adrian Peterson’s record-setting $14MM/year deal, he stands an excellent change of netting an eight-figure annual salary.

Per Rapoport, the Steelers also want to extend wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is under club control for one more season. Brown’s exceedingly club-friendly deal will pay him just $4.7MM next year, quite a bargain for arguably the best receiver in the game. But with substantial raises for Bell and Brown on the horizon, Pittsburgh will need to make some tough decisions elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill

Dolphins coach Adam Gase says Ryan Tannehill won’t practice today (Twitter link via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com). If he gets one day of practice, that will be enough for Miami to play him on Sunday. However, Gase admits the Dolphins “may run out of time this week” (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com). Ryan Tannehill (vertical)

[RELATED: Dolphins To Release DL Mario Williams]

Miami’s original plan was to bring Tannehill back for Week 17 against the Patriots, but they decided to play it safe since they already had a 92% chance of making the postseason. With the ultra-tough Steelers on the docket, however, the Fins are eager to get their No. 1 QB back.

Tannehill was able to shed the cast on his injured leg some time ago, so he is at least moving in the right direction. Initially feared to be an ACL tear, Tannehill is dealing with an ACL/MCL sprain. That’s no walk in the park, but not as grim as it could be.

In his 13 games this season, Tannehill has completed a career-high 67.1% of his passes with 19 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. If Tannehill is unable to go, quarterback Matt Moore will start in his place.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 NFL Draft Order

The Browns almost blew it yesterday. In the regular season finale, the Browns took the Steelers to overtime before ultimately losing 27-24. Had they won, the Browns would have been picking at No. 2 instead of the top position. Meanwhile, the Jaguars nearly slipped to No. 5, but they held their ground in the draft order when they lost 24-20 to the Colts. Phew.

The playoffs will help determine the bottom 12 picks, but the draft order has now been set for most of the NFL. Here is the list, with ties being broken by strength of schedule:

1. Browns (1-15)

2. 49ers (2-14)

3. Bears (3-13)

4. Jaguars (3-13)

5. Titans (via the 4-12 Rams)

6. Jets (5-11)

7. Chargers (5-11)

8. Panthers (6-10)

9. Bengals (6-9-1)

10. Bills (7-9)

11. Saints (7-9)

12. Browns (via the 7-9 Eagles)

13. Cardinals (7-8-1)

T-14. Eagles (via the 8-8 Minnesota Vikings)

T-14. Colts (8-8) (Note: The Vikings and Colts have identical records and the same strength of schedule. The tie will be broke by coin flip with the winner getting pick No. 14 and the other team getting the No. 15 pick.)

16. Ravens (8-8)

17. Redskins (8-7-1)

18. Titans (9-7)

19. Buccaneers (9-7)

20. Broncos (9-7)

Le’Veon Bell Wants To Stay With Steelers

Le’Veon Bell addressed his impending free agency today, deviating a bit from his previous remarks. Or at least providing some clarity. The top-tier running back expressed a desire to remain in Pittsburgh after his rookie contract expires.

I want to be a Pittsburgh Steeler,” Bell said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “We’re going to try to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”

This comes more than a week after Bell said he has not been paying attention to his contract but focusing on the Steelers’ playoff push. The Steelers are expected to apply the franchise tag to their top UFA, provided they cannot work out a deal before free agency. It might be a complex negotiation given Bell’s history, his ability when healthy, and the contract he’ll likely be seeking.

Having successfully returned from the torn MCL that spoiled his 2015 season, Bell has two substance-abuse suspensions on his record and but also two standout campaigns. This one has been his finest on a per-game basis. The superstar back averaged a career-best 157.0 yards from scrimmage in 12 games this season and will finish with 1,884 and nine touchdowns. He totaled 2,215 and 11 TDs in 2014, but those numbers came in 16 games. The 24-year-old runner will not play in the Steelers’ finale against the Browns.

The franchise tag will cost the Steelers $12.37MM. The team is expected to possess approximately $36.9MM in cap space this offseason. Bell will undoubtedly be eyeing the eight-figure-per-year threshold — a standard only Adrian Peterson ($14MM-plus per year) surpasses on a deal the Vikings will almost certainly either renegotiate or free themselves from in 2017. LeSean McCoy‘s $8MM-AAV deal leads all other ball-carriers, but Bell’s numbers have eclipsed Shady’s on a per-year basis during the former’s four years in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.