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The Sports Xchange
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Scrambling to get under the salary cap by Thursday, the Steelers cut three veterans quickly, including starting offensive tackles Max Starks and Flozell Adams and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. Their signing of free agent OT Willie Colon to a five-year contract made the Adams move essential. They also signed five of their own UFAs: CBs Ike Taylor and William Gay, RB Mewelde Moore, and Ots Willie Colon and Jonathan Scott.

QB Dennis Dixon also signed his RFA tender.

--OT Max Starks was released because his salary cap of more than $7 million was untenable for the Steelers. They say they could re-sign him again at some point but it's not likely.

--OT Flozell Adams was released after they signed OT Willie Colon. They wanted Adams to take a pay cut from his $5 million salary and serve as the No. 3 OT and he declined.

-- WR Antwaan Randle El was released supposedly for salary cap purposes, but he was quickly surpassed by two rookie receivers last year and fell from No. 3 to No. 5 and was no longer productive after rejoining the Steelers for one year.

-- CB Ike Taylor returned, signing a four-year contract. He was their No. 1 priority and they got it done before camp started.

-- OT Willie Colon, who missed last season with an achilles injury, will return to start for his fourth season at RT. He signed a five-year, $29 million contract with a $6 million bonus.

-- CB William Gay, their No. 3 CB and a UFA, re-signed.

-- RB Mewelde Moore, their top backup, re-signed.

-- P Daniel Sepulveda re-signed as a UFA even though his 2010 season ended with a torn ACL after he missed 2008 with an ACL tear.

EXPECTED BATTLE OF THE WEEK
Jonathan Scott vs. a host of others at left offensive tackle. Scott, who started at left tackle since last November after a neck injury to Max Starks, re-signed to a two-year deal but cannot practice until Thursday. Among others who will try to challenge him are rookie Marcus Gilbert and second-year player Chris Scott. Jonathan Scott is the heavy favorite.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS
At left cornerback, incumbent Bryant McFadden will try to hold off several young players including Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler ... With TE Matt Spaeth gone, there will be a scramble to back up Heath Miller and the Steelers are shopping for free agents to possibly fill that role.

ROOKIE REPORT
DE Cameron Heyward missed only half a practice without pads ... OT Marcus Gilbert was getting good early time at LT until a hamstring issue sidelined him ... CB Curtis Brown missed Saturday sick but returned Sunday.

INJURY REPORT

--WR Hines Ward opened on the PUP after thumb surgery but should be ready in a week or so.

-- OG Chris Kemoeatu is on the PUP with swelling in his knee.

-- TE Eugene Bright is on the PUP, still recovering from shoulder surgery.

-- WR Emmanuel Sanders, who had surgery on both feet to repair small breaks, has been sidelined because one has been giving him a problem.

-- WR Limas Sweed has a hamstring injury that sidelined him on the second day of camp.

FRANCHISE PLAYER

--LB LaMarr Woodley (tendered at $10.191M; re-signed).

TRANSITION PLAYER
None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--G/T Trai Essex lost his starting job at mid-season at guard, but is a versatile guard/tackle they'd like to have back.

--LB Keyaron Fox served mainly as a special teams player (captain) whose time may be up in Pittsburgh.

--CB Anthony Madison has long provided excellent special teams play but they likely will go with a younger player in that role in 2011.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offer)

--S Tuff Harris (not tendered as RFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
None.

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED

--DE Cameron Heyward (1/31): 4 yrs with 5th-yr option; terms unknown.

--T Marcus Gilbert (2/63): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--CB Curtis Brown (3/95); 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--CB Cortez Allen (4/128); 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--LB Chris Carter (5/162): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--G Keith Williams (6/196): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--RB Baron Batch (7/232): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS RE-SIGNED

--OT Willie Colon: UFA; $29M/5 yrs, guarantees unknown.

--CB William Gay: UFA; terms unknown.

--DL Chris Hoke: UFA; terms unknown.

--RB Mewelde Moore: UFA; terms unknown.

--T Jonathan Scott: UFA; terms unknown.

--P Daniel Sepulveda: UFA; terms unknown.

--K Shaun Suisham: UFA' terms unknown.

--CB Ike Taylor: UFA; $28M/4 yrs, $7.25M SB/$750,000 RB.

--LS Greg Warren: UFA; terms unknown.

--LB LaMarr Woodley: FFA: $10.191M/1 yr.

ERFA/RFA RE-SIGNED

--QB Dennis Dixon: RFA (tendered at $1.2M with fifth-round pick as compensation): $1.2M/1 yr.

--OT Tony Hills: RFA (tendered at $1.2M with fourth-round pick as compensation); $1.2M/1 yr.

--P Jeremy Kapinos: ERFA; terms unknown.

--C Doug Legursky: ERFA; terms unknown.

--S Ryan Mundy: ERFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--TE John Gilmore: UFA Buccaneers; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

--T Flozell Adams (released).

--DE Nick Eason: UFA Cardinals; terms unknown.

--WR Antwaan Randle El (released/failed physical).

--TE Matt Spaeth: UFA Bears; terms unknown.

--T Max Starks (released).

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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