Aaron Smith signs long-term deal

LATROBE, Pa., July 24 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers locked up one of the top young defensive ends in football Wednesday, signing Aaron Smith to a six-year contract.

Financial terms were not dislosed. There was a report, however, that the deal was worth $25 million and includes a $5.5 million signing bonus.


Smith, who was a restricted free agent, signed a one-year tender offer before inking an extension for five more years.

"I'm just happy a deal could get done, so I can be here with my teammates and we can start work on time with no distractions," Smith said. "I'm just happy to be part of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization and I think we have a great opportunity to win some championships."

A 1999 second-round pick out of Division II Northern Colorado, the 26-year-old Smith had a breakthrough campaign last season with a career-high eight sacks. Smith's total was a surprise since the Steelers use a 3-4 defensive scheme, where most of the sacks go to the linebackers.

By signing Smith, the Steelers have locked up their entire defensive front seven and the cornerbacks for at least the next five years.


The Steelers started training camp at St. Vincent College Wednesday.

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