Another new deal

The Steelers cleared an additional $2.5 million in salary cap space by re-working the deal of left tackle Marvel Smith for the second consecutive year.

Smith had been scheduled to earn a base salary of $3.95 million in 2005, the highest on the team after center Jeff Hartings and running back Jerome Bettis altered their contracts earlier this year. He will now earn a base salary of $540,000 this season, taking the additional $3.410 million as signing bonus. Instead of costing the Steelers $5.293 million against their cap this season, he'll only count $2.735 million.

Smith is the latest player who has accepted their 2005 salaries as bonus money, joining Hartings, Bettis, running back Duce Staley and linebackers James Farrior and Clark Haggans.

Because of the restructured deal, Smith will now count $6.595 million against the Steelers' salary cap in 2006, his $4.4 million base salary plus his adjusted bonus money of $2.195 million. That would make Smith the highest paid player – in regards to cap value – in Steelers' history. Before restructuring his deal, Smith was scheduled to count $5.743 million against the team's cap next season.


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