- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
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The Pittsburgh Steelers continued Friday what they started earlier this week: Clearing room under the salary cap without compromising the core of their roster.
Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown's contract restructure saves $4 million this year, per ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, and puts the Steelers under the spending ceiling ahead of the Tuesday deadline for all teams to be in compliance with the salary cap.
The Steelers had been about $372,000 over the cap, according to ESPN roster management, before re-working Brown's four-year contract by turning base salary into a signing bonus and spreading out the new guaranteed money over the life of the contract.
The Steelers aren't finished massaging the salary cap since they have to clear enough room under it so they can sign free agents -- their own as well as those from other teams -- and their draft picks.
But there are still a number of ways in which they can create more cap room without significantly shaking up their roster.
Cornerback Ike Taylor's has a base salary of $7 million this year, and the 11th-year veteran will have to take a pay cut to return to the Steelers. The Steelers could also save millions by designating outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley a post-June 1 release and spreading out the dead money in his contract over the next two years.
They will work toward a long-term contract with outside linebacker Jason Worilds, one that would lower his 2014 cap number ($9.754 million). Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's cap number ($18.9 million) can also be reduced by signing the 10th-year veteran to a new deal as the Steelers are expected to do at some point.
The timing for a new deal for the Steelers' franchise quarterback couldn't be better with the salary cap expected to rise dramatically in the coming years following a $10 million spike this year.
For an organization that had supposedly been in salary-cap trouble the Steelers continue to show the kind of numbers-crunching dexterity that allows them to turn over their roster without blowing it up.