Update (1:30 p.m. ET): As expected, the Steelers moved some money around and they've announced a three-year extension for Polamalu that will keep him with the club through 2016.
I am thankful and blessed to be in a position to play my entire career in Pittsburgh— Troy Polamalu (@tpolamalu) March 5, 2014
Presumably that means Polamalu can retire as a Steeler. Additionally, it means that the Steelers have mortgaged a little bit more of the future in order to keep a franchise icon on their roster for the present. Some day the piper has to get paid.
The Steelers are, once again, in a fairly uncomfortable place when it comes to the salary cap. (No, not the back of a Volkswagen.) Despite their situation, the team reportedly won't be cutting long-time safety Troy Polamalu.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that "the Rooney family is loyal" to Polamalu and it's considered that he's "been too valuable to the franchise to let go."
Instead the team will reportedly try and work out a restructuring of Polamalu's contract.
Per Spotrac.com, Polamalu has more than a $10 million cap hit in 2014, before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
Pittsburgh's over the cap currently, though, with linebacker Jason Worilds having quickly signed his transition tag that guarantees him nearly $10 million on a one-year salary.
Polamalu, who turned 33 since the season ended, played in 16 games last year and was a disruptive force for Pittsburgh, intercepting two passes, forcing five fumbles and deflecting 11 passes.
The Steelers have made it clear they want Polamalu to retire in Pittsburgh. And they gave him a four-year deal in 2011 despite the safety creeping up there in age.
There's probably a middle ground here in terms of the contract and keeping Polamalu until he's ready to walk away would be a good thing for Pittsburgh from several different standpoints.
But if it involves mortgaging their future cap any more than they already have just to keep the safety on the roster for 2014, it could ultimately look like a mistake down the road.