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Shazier signing makes sixth draft pick under contract with Steelers in 2014

Rookie Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) becomes the sixth draft pick in 2014 to be signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Rookie Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) becomes the sixth draft pick in 2014 to be signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers slowly worked their way through their 2014 NFL Draft picks by signing rookies in reverse of the manner they were drafted in May. Once LaMarr Woodley's designated June 1 release cleared a salary cap savings around $8 million, the Steelers reached out and signed Ryan Shazier, their first round draft pick to a four-year contract with a fifth-year organization option.

Shazier, who played collegiate ball at Ohio State, has been making news by practicing with the first team this spring at inside linebacker. At rookie mini-camp and organized training activities (OTAs), Shazier has shown improvement that indicates he may be one rookie that will buck the trend in Pittsburgh and start when the Steelers open regular season play.

Shazier was given a signing bonus of $5.23 million for a total of $9 million over the course of his contract. Much of the money was used to hedge against injury.

Shaquille Richardson (cornerback, Arizona State), Wesley Johnson (OL, Vanderbilt), Jordan Zumwalt (LB, UCLA), Rob Blanchflower (tight end, UMass) and Daniel McCullers (defensive line, Tennessee) were all signed in May under four-year contracts. Financial information was not disclosed, but it is likely that all five signed for a rookie minimum.

With the signing of Shazier, the Steelers have three of their nine 2014 draft picks left to sign: Stephon Tuitt, Dri Archer (RB) and Martavis Bryant (WR). Those three players were selected in the second round, third round and fourth round respectively. News of contract signings is expected prior to training camp that will begin later in June.