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Steelers restructure veteran offensive lineman Colon's contract

The Steelers are inching closer to conforming to the salary cap after tackle Willie Colon restructured his contract Tuesday.

The Steelers removed $2.85 million off their 2012 salary cap by converting $3.8 million of Colon's $4.5 million salary for the upcoming year into a bonus. The $3.8 million bonus will be spread out over the final four years of Colon's contract.

Colon will make a base salary of $700,000 and count $1.65 million against the cap this year.

The Steelers signed Colon to a five-year, $29 million contract last year. Colon missed all but one game over the past two years — in 2010 with an Achilles tendon rupture and last year with a torn triceps.

Colon likely will return to the starting lineup at right tackle, with Marcus Gilbert moving to left tackle.

The Steelers have restructured four contracts over the past two weeks — those of LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Ike Taylor and Colon — saving about $17.8 million.

Add the releases of Bryant McFadden and Arnaz Battle, which saved them another $3.5 million, and the Steelers have cut about $21.3 million off their payroll.

Before the restructuring and releases, general manager Kevin Colbert estimated that the Steelers were about $25 million over the cap. The 2012 salary cap is expected to be between $121 million to $125 million. That number should be finalized this weekend at the NFL Combine.

Note: The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation announced Tuesday that it will distribute nine grants totaling $52,400 to the following: Aspinwall police, Butler County Sheriff's Office, Aliquippa police, Eureka Hose Co., Greensburg vol. fire department, Johnstown police; Masontown police, Penn Hills police and the Westmoreland County Park police. Funds will be used to cover canine purchases, training, safety and training equipment, food and other expenses of the K-9 units.

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