The All-Pro receiver is converting most of his $7.875 million base salary and his $6 million roster bonus into signing bonuses, freeing up around $9.7 million in cap space, according to a source.
His new salary will be around $915,000. Brown used Snapchat to post a snippet of agent Drew Rosenhaus explaining his reworked contract.
The addition of Le'Veon Bell's $14.544 million franchise tag puts the Steelers $8.7 million over the salary-cap line. The Brown restructure brings the Steelers $1.022 million into the positive.
Brown enters the first year of a four-year, $68 million extension signed in February 2017.
The team might not be done if it decides to chase defensive help in free agency. The Steelers can create more than $10 million in space by releasing a handful of defensive veterans, while while defensive end Cam Heyward ($12.4 million cap hit), cornerback Joe Haden ($11.6 million) and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva ($7.6 million) could be candidates to restructure contracts.