Mr. Rooney came up with the current salary cap plan that the NFL uses so he knows how to work it.
Some bonus' count against the cap. Signing bonus', those bonus that are likely to be earned.
This year we are $1m below the cap which essentially means that we have spent everything we could when you count in the bonus' that were likely to be earned (were earned) by Ben and other players. Also we may not actually be $1m below now since there have been some player changes (Nate Washington) during the season.
Players salaries are backloaded, meaning a player getting a four year contract is paid like this:
year 1 salary-$1m
year 2 salary-$1.5m
year 3 salary-$2m
year 4 salary-$3m
Because of this we will be over the salary cap at the beginning of each new season, exactly how much is tough to say. I'm guessing we are going to be somewhere around $10 million over next season.
The signing bonus is spread over the term of the contract so the $2m SB counts for $500k against the salary cap.
If a player is cut the team immediately has the remainder of the signing bonus count against the cap, unless they cut him after June 1st, then it is spread out over the remainder of the contract.
The cap does go up each year depending on a complicated factor of how much teams earn but that amount is mostly used to sign our draft picks.
We need to sign Taylor, Von Oelhoffen, Batch, Hope, Randel El, Townsend (he's gone anyway), Haynes, and more so really we need to make A LOT of salary cap room.
So we have no choice but to cut the fat. I would cut these players post June 1st:
Hartings, saves us $4m next year.
Porter, saves about $5m.
Morey, saves $500k.
Colclough, saves $780k
Maddox, saves $1.3m
Before you cry about cutting Porter please post your way to keep him and make it under the cap...
A good Steelers salary cap page: