Mike Tomlin gave his team the day off from practice Monday, but Steelers negotiator Omar Khan pulled up his sleeves and went to work, signing three draft picks, including the team's top two.
Linebacker Jarvis Jones and halfback Le'Veon Bell signed four-year contracts, the team announced. Jones, who will receive $8.5 million including a $4.7 million signing bonus, has a fifth-year club option on the contract.
Also, seventh-round pick Nicholas Williams, a defensive end from Samford, came to terms on a four-year deal.
Jones, the 17th player taken in the draft from Georgia, plays outside linebacker. Bell, their second-round draft pick, played at Michigan State, where he rushed for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns in his career. His 1,743 yards last season led the Big Ten.
The Steelers have come to terms with eight of their nine draft picks. Only quarterback Landry Jones, a fourth-round choice, remains unsigned.
The Steelers also signed rookie tight end Peter Tuitupou from San Jose State and placed tight end Zack Pianalto on the waived/injured list. Tuitupou went undrafted in April.
Tomlin on Jones, Bell
Jones and Bell might be under contract, but Tomlin said he hasn't seen enough to give an analysis of their professional development through OTAs.
Of the team's running back situation, which obviously includes Bell, Tomlin said he would reserve judgment for, "when we put clothes on," a reference to his frequent characterization of OTAs as 'football in shorts.'
He added: "Right now, this is an opportunity to teach and help guys grow and develop and put them in position to compete in a training camp-like setting, and I just think that that's appropriate. I think the decisions that are made this time of year are usually wrong ones, because our game is one that's played in pads."
Wheaton can't be here yet
Third-round pick Markus Wheaton has been under contract several weeks but remains unable to report because of an rule prohibiting draftees from joining their teams until after their final exams are complete. Tomlin said Wheaton will not join the team until June 14, but he is not worried about the delay impeding the rookie wide receiver's progress.
"He'll get plenty of opportunities to show what he's capable of to prepare himself to be a part of our outfit and help us," Tomlin said. "We've dealt with this in the past and, really, in the big scheme of things, it's been a nonissue. It creates some short-term discomfort, but these guys are professionals and capable of dealing with it."
OTAs near completion
The Steelers will conduct their final OTA Thursday at Heinz Field, Tomlin said.
Dan Gigler of the Post-Gazette contributed. For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette: email@example.com and Twitter @EdBouchette. First Published June 4, 2013 4:15 AM