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Steelers rookie minicamp will start without any contracts being signed

Pittsburgh's cap situation largely prevents them from signing any of their draft picks before June 2, when LaMarr Woodley's contract comes off the books, but the rookies will be working at camp anyway.


The Steelers aren't among the scores of teams in the process of signing their draft picks this week. Reports are flying in from all over about this fourth round pick signing, and that third round pick inking a deal.

The Chicago Bears are usually among the earliest teams to sign their rookies, inked Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller to a contract Wednesday, details were not released. He's the only first round pick to have signed as of the time of this publication.

The Steelers don't really have the cap space to do it. Of course, that changes on June 2, when the contract of LaMarr Woodley clears their books, leaving them with approximately $8 million in space to sign their nine draft picks.

It's a wonder how well that's going over among the players and agents they drafted.

The Steelers' mandatory rookie minicamp begins Friday in Pittsburgh, and while it's not exactly rare for these players to enter this two-day workout without a contract in place (and none would be dumb enough to hold out from him), they're asking players to work out and, to an extent, compete (physical contact is not permitted) against each other in drills without having their contracts worked out or signing bonuses paid.

The rest of the Steelers roster is in Phase Two of the offseason program, which includes on-field workouts and individual instruction from coaches. That runs through May 26.

Phase Three will begin May 27, consisting of 10 individual practice sessions that do not include individual coaching. Live contact is forbidden but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. The Steelers will conduct their OTAs May 27-29, June 3-5 and June 9-12.

The team's formal minicamp will be held June 17-19.