On Thursday, the Steelers signed their first rookie from the 2013 draft. The 111th pick overall, Shamarko Thomas, inked a four year deal with the team. The rest of the rookies are yet to be signed, but the team felt they could get Thomas in the books with the last bit of funds they had in the salary cap coffers.
Don’t get your panties in a bunch about the Steelers signing a 4th rounder first – and if you are a troll to talk smack about it, so help me God. Just about every other team in the NFL are signing their deeper round picks first, then they will turn their attentions to the earlier picks. The Steelers are a little strapped for cash. For now. There’s no denying that. But, come June 1st, the team will get $5.5 million back from the release of Willie Colon. The way the current (newer) CBA works allows teams (and fans) to refrain from scrambling and panicing about getting that first rounder in the books. The new normal is for the late rounders to go first and then the higher of the first rounders to go next. That will then dictate salary bumps for each pick after that. The team WILL sign all of their rookies from the draft, and even some UDFA, and even some of the leftover UFA’s that haven’t been given an offer by other teams.
I do like, however, that Thomas is the first guy to sign. I consider him and Wheaton to be the two rookies to really pay attention to this summer. I think both will make big impacts on this team in the immediate future. Thomas may not play on defense right away because Polamalu and Clark should be healthy and ready to go. However, he’s already made a good impression on special teams along with another rookie, Vince Williams. New special teams coach, Danny Smith, wants a hard hitting and turnover creating special teams group – and Thomas and Williams are perfect for that role. Lord knows the Steelers need all the help they can get in that area.