Steelers top four picks would count against salary cap based on Rule of 51

Joe Sargent

Three players, Shaquille Richardson, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Zumwalt, can still be signed before LaMarr Woodley's contract comes off the books June 2.

The Steelers signed two draft picks Monday, 6th round nose tackle Daniel McCullers and 7th round tight end Rob Blanchflower. Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola points out the team has salary cap space coming via the release of outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, but the Steelers are able to ink the remaining unsigned players taken in rounds 5-6 immediately.

Right now, NFL teams are operating under the Rule of 51, which means the highest paid 51 players on the offseason roster count against a team's salary cap. Wide receiver Derrick Moye is 51st on that list right now, with a cap charge of $495,000, according to The Steelers Fans.

The Steelers' first four picks, Ryan Shazier (first round), Stephon Tuitt (second round), Dri Archer (third round) and Martavis Bryant (fourth round) all will have salary cap numbers this season higher than Moye, but none of the others will, so none of them will count against the cap during the offseason.

So fifth round picks Shaquille Richardson and Wesley Johnson and remaining sixth round pick Jordan Zumwalt can still be signed, should the team choose to do so now.

It's likely a matter of timing more than anything else. They'll all get signed but the Steelers aren't able to sign the top four until June 2.

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