Steelers' salary-cap issues material but not crippling

Mike Wilkening
None of Steelers' cuts were unexpected

Steelers president Art Rooney II told Pittsburgh reporters this week that the club, reportedly projected to be about $25 million over the salary cap for 2012, faced some cap-related decisions in the offseason. However, there are some obvious ways the club can address this, the way we hear it. Certainly WR Hines Ward, who's due to make $4 million in salary in 2012, will have to take a pay cut if he is to be in the club's plans for 2012. NT Casey Hampton, coming off a knee injury, is slated to make close to $5 million in salary. OLG Chris Kemoeatu, who struggled this season, is slated to make close to $3.6 million in salary next season. Another candidate for a pay cut or for perhaps being released outright, as a daily team observer noted: CB Bryant McFadden, who's due to make $2.5 million in 2012. The Steelers aren't known for being aggressive in free agency, so being close to the salary cap wouldn't greatly affect them in that regard. However, it would be a factor if they wanted to extend some of their younger core veterans, as they have been apt to do.