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With the calendar turned to June, nothing is off the table for the Steelers

It’s one of the dates on the NFL calendar that doesn’t hold a lot of significance in most cases, but is extremely significant when it applies. Once the NFL moves past June 1, all players who are released, retire, or are traded who have multiple years left on their contract are able to have their dead money hits spread into two years, giving a lower salary cap hit for the 2024 season. For this reason, if the Pittsburgh Steelers were looking to make any trades, the date has now passed that could bring any contract hangups with their trading partners.

It has been no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers are continuing to make calls about potential players who could be available via trade. Simply because the Steelers make a call does not mean things will work out, but general manager Omar Khan has developed the philosophy of “leaving no stone unturned.” With some contracts, they simply aren’t easy for teams to move even if they would want to trade away a player. But now that June 1 has passed, there are some players who are now easier for teams to trade than it was just a few days ago.

While I am not endorsing the Steelers making any specific move, I am going to use some names tied to the Steelers just as examples. With San Francisco wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk is a player that was rumored to Steelers. There is no benefit to the 49ers when it comes to his contract for a trade to occur before of after June 1 because he only has one year left on his current deal. But his teammate, Deebo Samuel, is in a whole different situation as his contract runs through 2025 and has two more void years added on at the end. For this reason, the 49ers would have had to take a $21.721 million dead money hit by trading Samuel before June 1. Now that this deadline has passed, his dead money for this season would only be $6.632 million but would have a much higher hit next season.

Keeping the examples rolling, Cortland Sutton of the Denver Broncos is another player who would have a significant dead money hit if he was traded before June 1. Sutton’s cap hit would have been $7.65 million had he been traded before June 1 versus a $3.825 million hit at this time since he is under contract through 2025. Of course, none of this matters if the Broncos are not wanting to trade Sutton.

Looking at one more player who Steelers fans had their eye in a trade is DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks. Metcalf would carry a $15 million dead cap hit for Seattle if we would have been traded before June 1, but the Seahawks would only have to take on $7.5 million this season if they were to trade Metcalf at this time.

As you can see, there are benefits of pulling off a trade after June 1 if teams are really wanting to move on from a player. Of course, all this dead money will have to account on the salary cap at some point, it just wouldn’t all be this season. With all of these players, their respective teams were set to save significantly against the cap in 2024, but the amount of savings would now be even more. But on the negative side of things, if a team traded a player at this time they did not gain capital to use in 2024 to help improve their team for this season and now have to be looking at draft picks from 2025 or beyond.

Even though June 1 has passed, there is no guarantee the Steelers will be looking at acquiring any of these players or that their teams would be willing to part with them for what the Steelers are offering. But now that this date is no longer something that could hold things up, all options are on the table for the Steelers if they are still looking to acquire talent via trade for 2024.


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