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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Bengals signing picks, Steelers will wait

By Jamison Hensley

The Cincinnati Bengals have followed the Baltimore Ravens in making quick work in signing draft picks, reaching agreements with six of their 10 selections.

The only remaining unsigned picks are the Bengals' top four -- tight end Tyler Eifert (first round), running back Giovani Bernard (second round), defensive end Margus Hunt (second round) and safety Shawn Williams (third round).

The Ravens signed six of their 10 draft picks before rookie minicamp started earlier this month. As I wrote then, signing draft picks has become a smoother process because of the new collective bargaining agreement, which standardizes the slotting process and puts limitations on signing bonuses.

The Cleveland Browns will likely start signing a bulk of their picks soon, but the Pittsburgh Steelers will probably be the last to reach deals with their entire draft class. The Steelers would prefer not to wait. They just don't have much of a choice.

As it's been all offseason, the problem for the Steelers is lack of salary-cap space. Pittsburgh has less than $2 million in cap room right now, and it would take roughly $5 million to sign all nine draft picks. Expect the Steelers to start signing most of their draft picks beginning in June. That's when they'll receive an additional $5.5 million because guard Willie Colon was designated a June 1 cut.