The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly moving around some monies to create a bit of cap room for themselves as they prepare for free agency. On Monday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Steelers did a basic conversion restructure on defensive lineman Cameron Heyward's contract. He will still make the $10.5 million in 2021 he was set to earn before the restructure, but the roster bonus and base were converted into a signing bonus -- which created about $7 million in cap room, according to Rapoport.
Last September, the Steelers signed Heyward to a big four-year, $71.4 million extension. The 31-year-old recorded 54 tackles, four sacks, seven tackles for loss and recorded his first career interception in 2020 as the Steelers' defense finished the season with the No. 3 overall unit in the NFL. It makes sense to restructure Heyward's deal, as he was one of the biggest cap numbers on the Steelers' roster. The player with the largest cap number on the Steelers is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who general manager Kevin Colbert failed to commit to for the 2021 season last week despite having every opportunity to.
The Steelers currently have the fourth-worst cap situation in the NFL according to Over The Cap, and have several notable free agents looking for new deals such as pass-rusher Bud Dupree, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Pittsburgh could be clearing up some space to re-sign one or a few of their players, but there is another free agent who has been connected to the Steelers that could join Heyward on the defensive line.
Earlier this month, the Houston Texans made the decision to release star pass-rusher J.J. Watt, and several teams are reportedly interested in acquiring his services. One of those teams is the Steelers, who also have Watt's brothers in T.J. Watt and Derek Watt on roster.