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Report: Steelers restructure Villanueva contract heading into free agency

Joe Rutter
| Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 6:24 p.m.
Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva arrives at M&T Bank Stadium before the Ravens game on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva arrives at M&T Bank Stadium before the Ravens game on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and the Steelers have restructured his contract on the eve of NFL free agency, according to ESPN, a move that will clear $3.53 million in salary-cap space for the franchise.

Villanueva, who signed a four-year, $24 million contract on the first day of training camp last summer, was scheduled to collect a $3 million base salary plus a $3 million roster bonus. The Steelers restructured the deal, lowering his base salary to the NFL minimum of $705,000, and turning the rest of the money into a signing bonus that can be spread over the life of the contract for salary-cap purposes.

The Steelers also will create $5.79 million in cap space by 4 p.m. Wednesday when they officially release defensive backs Mike Mitchell ($5 million) and William Gay ($1.75 million) and replace them on the active roster with two players making $480,000 salaries. The top 51 roster salaries are counted against the salary cap in the offseason.

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