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Steelers notebook: Ex-Bills linebacker Moats signs 1-year contract

| Monday, March 24, 2014, 12:30 p.m.
The Bills' Arthur Moats tracks down the Chiefs' Anthony Fasano on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, in Orchard Park, N.Y.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former Bills linebacker Arthur Moats signed a $795,000, one-year contract with the Steelers on Monday, even as most of the team's front office attended the annual league meetings. The deal includes a $65,000 signing bonus.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Moats was used mostly as a run defender last season in former Bills coordinator Mike Pettine's defense, but he was signed to back up outside linebackers Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones. His signing likely means the Steelers won't bring back James Harrison as a backup.

Moats was on the field for about one-quarter of the Bills' defensive snaps last season, and he played inside and outside linebacker and special teams.

A sixth-round pick from James Madison in 2010, Moats has 141 tackles and five sacks during his four-year NFL career.

LT Beachum gets raise

Moving into the Steelers' starting lineup at left tackle a month into the 2013 season helped Kelvin Beachum pick up an additional $236,667 in pay.

Eleven NFL players earned $250,000 or more in performance-based pay, based on a report by the NFL Management Council.

The performance-based pay program is designed to compensate players at a level commensurate to their playing time even if they weren't drafted or were drafted in a low round and thus signed a lower wage-scale deal.

Sixty-one Steelers earned extra pay, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who picked up $10,346. Defensive end Brian Arnfelt, who played two snaps late in the season, added an extra $3,572.

The Steelers' leaders in performance-based pay: Beachum; center Fernando Velasco, $180,957; linebacker Vince Williams, $171,800; cornerback Cortez Allen, $167,715; right tackle Marcus Gilbert, $152,812; linebacker Jason Worilds, $123,461; running back Le'Veon Bell, $120,842; tight end David Paulson, $119,678; cornerback William Gay, $116,426; safety Shamarko Thomas, $108,891.

Offseason schedule

The Steelers' mandatory three-day minicamp, once held in May, will be June 17-19 — barely a month before camp starts in Latrobe. Their 10 full-squad workouts (OTAs) begin May 27. Rookie orientation will be May 16-18, a week after the draft.

The training camp reporting date will be announced once the exhibition game schedule is revealed next month.

Extra-point changes?

Next year, the Steelers might offer up for leaguewide consideration coach Mike Tomlin's proposal that extra-point plays start from the 1-yard line, rather than the 2, to encourage more two-point attempts.

“I don't think any serious football people want to lose the play and award seven points for a score,” Tomlin said. “I am open to anything to preserve the historic significance of the extra point play, and that was just a suggestion I had that was a little bit different than some of the other things that I was reading.”

Best in Tomlin's time

As he tours the various pro days that follow the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Tomlin is becoming convinced this is the best NFL Draft class he's seen.

“What we determine as A-players are guys that can go in the top three rounds or so. There are more of those players in this draft than I can think of,” Tomlin said. “I think this is a strong draft across the board, and it's going to provide us an opportunity in all areas, quality guys in all areas.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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