A closer look at Thomas, Wallace contracts

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers were roughly $3.47 million under the salary cap, according to the NFL Players Association, prior to their re-signing of offensive lineman Guy Whimper.

The Whimper deal will be a cost-effective one as he made $715,000 last season but counted only $555,000 against the salary cap, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

His signing leaves the Steelers less than $3 million under the cap and they are going to have clear more room cap room given their interest in three outside free agents as well as some of their own.

The Steelers hosted former Bills defensive end Alex Carrington for a visit last Friday, and former Saints wide receiver Lance Moore and former Packers running back James Starks are scheduled to visit team headquarters on Tuesday.

The Steelers have done a good job of massaging the cap in signing a handful of their own free agents as well as safety Mike Mitchell and nose tackle Cam Thomas.

Mitchell signed a five-year, $25 million contract last week but his cap hit is only $2.2 million for 2014, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and the guaranteed money in his deal is only $5.25 million.

Here is a look at the two other multi-year contracts that the Steelers signed players to last week as both are also cap friendly.

Cam Thomas: The player whose nickname is “Baby Zilla” signed a two-year, $4 million contract, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Thomas received a signing bonus of $1 million and base salaries of $1 million in 2014 and $2 million in 2015.

His respective cap hits are $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

The contract is almost identical to the one former Steelers defensive end Al Woods received from the Titans, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Woods also signed a two-year, $4 million contract that included a $1 million signing bonus.

Essentially the Steelers traded Woods for Thomas, who has also played defensive end.

Cody Wallace: The Steelers bolstered their depth along the offensive line when they re-signed Wallace to a three-year, $3.48 million contract. The signing bonus ($450,000) is the only guaranteed money in the deal and Wallace's cap hits are $880,000 in 2014, $1.25 million in 2015 and $1.35 million in 2016.

It’s a very reasonable deal for a team that needs quality depth along its offensive line given all of the injuries they sustain up front every season.

And Wallace, one of the most well-traveled players on the Steelers’ roster, gets some measure of stability after starting the final four games last season at center and playing well.

The fourth-year veteran can also play guard, providing the position flexibility that the Steelers covet.