Hampton takes large pay cut
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Casey Hampton and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin have long been at odds over the nose tackle's weight. Tomlin has repeatedly expressed his desire for Hampton to reduce his waist size.
On Thursday, Hampton underwent a reduction of a different kind.
Hampton agreed to take a cut in pay with the Steelers for next season
, giving the Steelers a little more than $3 million in much-needed salary cap relief.
The move came three days after the Steelers were forced to allocate just over $9 million in salaries to six restricted free agents, including wide receiver Mike Wallace. That ate nearly all of the cushion under the $120.6-million cap for the 2012 season.
Hampton had been scheduled to earn a base salary of $4.89 million in 2012, with a salary cap number of just above $8 million.
But Hampton reduced his base salary to $2.8 million and agreed to waive a $1 million workout fee, meaning he will count just $4.96 million.
Hampton's agreement to waive the workout fee was likely little more than a formality, considering the nose tackle had to undergo the third ACL surgery of his career in late January after injuring his knee in the Steelers' playoff loss at Denver.
Hampton is expected to be ready to play when the Steelers open the regular season.
"You don't have to worry about speed," Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said at the NFL combine when asked about the expected quick turnaround time for Hampton from ACL surgery.
"You don't have to worry about quick change of direction when you're talking about offensive and defensive linemen. The one edge that Casey will have on anybody is he's been through this twice and knows what to expect."