- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
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PITTSBURGH -- Signing draft picks hasn't put much of a dent in the salary-cap savings the Steelers received from releasing outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.
The Steelers are $6.517 million under the salary cap, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and that includes the four-year, $9.507 million contract that first-round pick Ryan Shazier signed last Thursday.
Of the first six Steelers' draft picks to sign only Shazier's contract counts against the salary cap right now since it is among the 51 highest on the team.
Shazier's deal will count roughly $1.729 million against the cap this season, and the Steelers will absorb a minimal hit for the four-year deal that fourth-round pick Martavis Bryant signed on Monday -- if it is even among the highest 51 contracts on the team.
That will give them flexibility to sign a free agent or two -- Brett Keisel, anyone? -- as well as sign some of their own players to long-term contracts.
The Steelers have a handful of core players going into the final year of their respective contracts. Ben Roethlisberger still has two years left on his deal, but the Steelers have traditionally signed their starting quarterback to a new contract before he enters the penultimate year of his deal.
The Jaguars signed Alex Mack to a five-year, $42 million that the Browns matched after they had used the transition tag on their starting center. Mack received $26 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and the fifth-year veteran will count $10 million against Cleveland's cap this year.
Pouncey's cap hit for 2014 is $5.624 million but the Steelers are unlikely to lower that number by signing the three-time Pro Bowler to a long-term contract. Mack's deal means the Steelers are going to have to pony up to keep Pouncey -- something they should absolutely do -- and the $8 million they received in cap savings from releasing Woodley could help them sign Pouncey without putting too much strain on their cap.