clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AFC North: Steelers release Mitch Trubisky, 2 starters; save significant cap space

The salary cap is real but flexible as the Browns have shown

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s previous season has just ended with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers and the start of the next offseason is upon us. While teams, including the Cleveland Browns, try to figure out reasons for hope in beating the Chiefs, free agency and the NFL draft loom.

The salary cap in the NFL is often an overwhelming discussion between those who believe it is the most important thing and those who say “it isn’t real.” The reality is that the cap is real but flexible. It's an accounting tool.

The Pittsburgh Steelers started their accounting process the Monday after the Super Bowl by cutting three players who started for them in 2023:

  • QB Mitchell Trubisky
  • OT Chukwuma Okorafor
  • P Pressley Harvin

Trubisky was set to count over $7.5 million against the salary cap this season. The team will save just under $3 million, with over $4.5 million in dead cap, with his release. Okorafor was set to count just under $12 million against the Steelers cap. By releasing him, Pittsburgh saves over $8 million against the cap.

Combined, the three moves save the team significant cap space this year but will also lead to a dead cap in 2024 of over $8 million:

The Steelers could use post-June 1st designations on Trubisky and Okorafor to save cap in 2024 but will have dead cap hits in 2025 if they do.

Before these moves, Pittsburgh was projected to be over the cap by $16 million. Along with the Steelers and Browns, nine other teams are currently projected to be over the cap including the New Orleans Saints at $83.6 million over.

All teams must be under the salary cap by March 13th, the start of the new league year.