Steelers sign DL Stephon Tuitt to 4-year contract

Joe Sargent

All nine of the Steelers draft picks are now under contract.

The Steelers announced Wednesday Stephon Tuitt, their second-round draft pick in 2014, has signed a 4-year contract. Terms of the deal were not released by the team but Over The Cap estimates it to be a total value of $4.6 million with a $1.672 million signing bonus.

With Tuitt signing, all nine of the Steelers' draft picks are under contract. The team is estimated to be around $6 million under the 2014 salary cap.

Tuitt, a defensive tackle and end at Notre Dame, was the 46th overall pick in the draft - one in which the Steelers selected defensive players with their first two picks. Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier was the first pick at No. 15 overall.

Tuitt has a reasonable chance to compete for a starting position, although rookie defensive ends typically haven't seen the field under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. The team drafted defensive ends in the first round in 2009 and 2011 (Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward, respectively) and neither were the team's Week 1 starter. Hood saw time that season after an injury to starter Aaron Smith.

Tuitt has less in front of him than either Hood or Heyward did. He'll likely compete with Cam Thomas, a veteran free agent signing this offseason, but Thomas was signed to be a utility player, not a starter.

With $6 million in cap space still available, and minicamp practices Wednesday and Thursday, the Steelers have a little time left to see what Tuitt has. His progress in the OTAs and minicamp portion of the offseason schedule will determine whether the team feels the need to bring in a veteran defensive end before or during training camp.

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