Omar Khan just keeps reeling them in, and Mike Tomlin is the beneficiary of the continued contract agreements being spearheaded by the Steelers lead negotiator. According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2nd round draft pick T Mike Adams, 56th overall, out of OSU agreed to terms on his 4 yr. contract with the team today.
That makes 4 total draft picks out of the 9 taken last month that have either signed or agreed to terms on their deal to date. Adams joins RB Chris Rainey, NT Alameda Ta’amu, and WR Toney Clemons as those that have their deals completed.
According to OSU’s stats, Adams started every game he played in in 2010 (13) and 2011 (seven), and he closed his career by starting in the final 23 games in which he played. He played in five games as a true freshman in 2008 and in six games (with four starts) in 2009.
It’s a great thing, seeing these NFL players get their contracts out of the way so early. No more waiting around throughout the summer, hoping the team can get all the players into camp on time. The new CBA rookie salary cap and the Steelers previous set allotment of $5.13 million in cap space for 2012 help speed things along. Basically it’s likely a take or leave it proposal at this point for most of the draftees. Being tight against the cap will do that to you.
There’s very little wiggle room with these deals and the total amount of the contracts for any given position is very similar all over the league.
Now that Adams is signed, it’s full speed ahead into the offseason. That is after his final classes are through at Ohio State. All of Steelers draft picks headed back to their respective schools after the rookie mini camp held last week. They won’t be eligible to return to the team until after their classes and finals are over for the year. They’ve got their playbooks though, nutrition plans to follow, workout routines to keep up with on top of their school work.
Adams played LT in college, and Tomlin had him at his natural position during the mini camp as well. Coaches usually like to ease players into their first camp by keeping them at the position they are comfortable with as much as possible. There will be plenty of time to experiment during the summer with him at RT should they choose to go that route.
Tomlin has hinted that Adams will get a chance to compete for the starting job on the left side of the line, but nothing is set in stone at this point. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert talked earlier this offseason that they were considering moving 2nd year player Marcus Gilbert to LT and having Willie Colon on the right side. That remains to be seen though now that Adams was drafted. Colbert clarified his statements by saying that the ultimate decision is always up to Mike Tomlin.
If he shows enough potential, they could stick the rookie out there to learn on the job and let Gilbert stay on the right side, where he played the majority of last year. Having a rookie protect Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side is always a risk but depending on how things shake out it may be the best option for the them and for the future of the line. There are plenty of players in the mix for Sean Kugler this summer, many of them starter quality and others better suited for backup roles. Both equally important but I for one am excited to see so many solid prospects available. It’s going to be a shoot out in the trenches and may the best men win. Maybe that’s Adams, maybe not but he will be the future at one of the Tackle positions sooner rather than later.