General manager Kevin Colbert said recently that rebuilding will never be acceptable to the Steelers.
The organization has provided more than lip service to that credo after a quiet couple of weeks.
The Steelers, who are trying to rebound from consecutive 8-8 seasons, have added and subtracted from their salary cap in the last two days. In the process, they have kept their financial situation tenable while also keeping franchise cornerstones in Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller, along with one of their best young defensive players in Jason Worilds.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported the Steelers saved $4.5 million in salary cap money in 2014 with the three-year, $20 million contract that Polamalu signed.
Assuming they got a similar salary-cap return on the three-year contract that Miller also signed Wednesday, then those two deals essentially offset the one-year, $9.75 million contract that Worilds signed Tuesday, a day after the Steelers slapped a transition tag on the fourth-year veteran.
If that is the case, the Steelers are only around $5.5 million over the cap, and they have until Tuesday to get in compliance with the 2014 spending ceiling.
That is a small figure, especially considering the Steelers can easily get under the cap with a couple of moves.
They will clear $6.25 million in cap room by releasing offensive tackle Levi Brown, who got hurt before playing a down for the Steelers following an in-season trade. They can save $7 million by releasing Ike Taylor or getting the veteran cornerback to accept a significant paycut.
There are several other contracts that can be restructured, and more salary-cap savings can be generated by signing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a new contract.
The Steelers’ salary-cap situation is frequently portrayed as dire. But in the last two days, they have kept their top free agent from hitting the open market next week, while also retaining two veterans who are still vital players for them.
They still have a salary-cap situation that is more than manageable with time and flexibility to get under the 2014 spending limit.
Not so much for the Steelers.