Breaking down Mike Mitchell's contract

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
1:00
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers bolstered their secondary by signing safety Mike Mitchell to a five-year, $25 million contract, and they did so while putting minimal stress on their salary cap.

Mitchell
Mitchell’s cap hit in 2014 will be just $2.2 million, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and the guaranteed money in his contract is just $5.25 million, with $4.75 million from his signing bonus plus a $500,000 roster bonus due in April.

I included the impending roster bonus as guaranteed money because it would make no sense for the Steelers to release Mitchell, a five-year veteran, less than a month after signing him.

Here is a breakdown of his contract:

2014: $950,000 signing bonus, $750,000 base salary and $500,000 roster bonus. Cap hit: $2.2 million.

2015: $2 million base salary, $2 million roster bonus and $950,000 signing bonus: Cap hit: $4.95 million.

2016: $5 million base salary and $950,000 signing bonus. Cap hit: $5.95 million.

2017: $5 million base salary and $950,000 signing bonus. Cap hit: $5.95 million.

2018: $5 million base salary and $950,000 signing bonus. Cap hit: $5.95 million.

Mitchell’s relatively small cap hit of $2.2 million for 2014 gives the Steelers some flexibility, as they were about $7 million under the cap before signing Mitchell.

They have since re-signed safety Will Allen, center Cody Wallace and long-snapper Greg Warren.

Allen and Warren signed one-year deals, and their combined cap hit is about $1.2 million if the Steelers used the exemptions that allow teams to re-sign veterans to one-year contracts but count only part of their salaries against the cap.

ESPN Stats & Information projects Allen to have a cap hit of $570,000, and Warren should be around that number, too, if the Steelers took advantage of the veterans exemption with each player.

Depending on what Wallace signed for, the Steelers don’t have a ton of room under the cap, but they should have enough to keep re-signing their own free agents and to entertain signing free agents from other teams.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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