If there was any doubt that the Steelers intended Willie Colon to rejoin them as their starting right tackle, the Steelers made their intentions clear today when they restructured his contract.
The Steelers took $3.8 million of Colon's $4.5 million salary for 2012 and turned it into a bonus, not only guaranteeing that part of his contract but creating more salary-cap room.
Colon has four years left on the five-year contract he signed last year, so that $3.8 million will be pro-rated for cap purposes over the life of the contract -- $950,000 for salary-cap purposes annually. So the team just created another $2.85 million in salary cap space with one swoop of the pen, and Colon not only takes no hit, he has the money guaranteed.
Colon has missed nearly two seasons because of injuries. He missed all of 2010 with an Achilles rupture. He started the opener last season but missed the rest of the season because of a torn triceps.
The Steelers signed him to a five-year $29 million contract last August.
Rookie Marcus Gilbert, a second-round draft pick, replaced the injured Colon and remained the team's starting right tackle all season.
General manager Kevin Colbert revealed recently that Gilbert would move to left tackle.
The Steelers also have reworked the contracts of LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons in similar fashion to help create salary cap room.
They have been working toward a March 13 deadline to whittle down from what was an estimated $25 million accounting over what is expected to be a $120 million salary cap per team.
Ed Bouchette: email@example.com and on Twitter @EdBouchette.