With roughly $200,000 in salary cap space, the Pittsburgh Steelers were in a precarious position with more than half the season remaining. Pittsburgh added some extra operating room this week by restructuring Ike Taylor's contract.
The Steelers converted the rest of Taylor's base salary into a signing bonus, giving them about $1.5 million in additional salary cap space this season, according to Alan Robinson and Mark Kaboly of TribLive.com. Taylor had a base salary of $6 million this season, according to Spotrac. By converting his base salary into a signing bonus the Steelers can spread the cap hit over 2013 and 2014, the final year of Taylor's contract.
The move will give Pittsburgh some room to operate, especially if it needs to sign additional players due to injury, but will also increase Taylor's salary cap hit in 2014. Taylor will now count for close to $12 million against Pittsburgh's 2014 salary cap and it would cost the Steelers slightly less than $5 million in dead money to release him. The 33-year-old Taylor continues to play at a high level and could be a candidate for a contract extension next year. An extension would likely keep Taylor in Pittsburgh for the rest of his career and would also lower his 2014 salary cap number.
This is the second straight year Taylor has restructured his contract to create salary cap room. He agreed to a similar restructure prior to last season.