Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Free Agents Analysis: DE Ziggy Hood – Unrestricted

By Matthew Marczi

Player: Ziggy Hood

Position: Defensive End

Experience: 5 Years

Free Agent Status: Unrestricted

2013 Salary Cap Hit: $2,990,860

2013 Season Breakdown: Defensive end Ziggy Hood began his fifth season starting for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but ended it as a backup. In fact, he ended his fifth game of the season as a backup.

That’s usually not good when you’re talking about a former first-round draft pick, but the blow is somewhat softened when you consider that the move was made in order to give way to a 2011 former first-round draft pick in the form of Cameron Heyward.

If you take the metrics and evaluation of Pro Football Focus as gospel, then you believe that Hood, of course, had a terrible season, and in fact was the worst player on the team. That’s obviously not the case—or at least not the full picture.

Although he managed three sacks, it’s been no secret since he got here that Hood does not offer much in the way of pass rushing, which is the main reason he was supplanted by Heyward this year. The Steelers began the season rotating Heyward in with Hood during nickel situations to get a better pass rush, but the point became moot when the two were flip-flopped in the starting lineup.

Despite being very strong, Hood’s height disadvantage handicaps him when it comes to gaining leverage against a tall offensive tackle. This is something that has been a problem for him throughout his career, and saw only moderate improvement this year.

Still, Hood fared well for the most part playing against the run, a job made more difficult with a rookie Buck linebacker behind him and a rotation of outside linebackers to his side. Despite the demotion, in fact, Hood nearly matched his tackle total from the year before when he started every game and equaled his sack total, while gaining more pressures.

In addition, he also recovered a fumble, but he also inadvertently batted a ball forward against the Green Bay Packers, which not only negated a missed field goal, but gave possession back to the Packers, who scored a touchdown on the next play.

Free Agency Outlook: The market for an undersized, marginally productive 3-4 end with minimal pass rush ability that will command starter money is likely not great. The market for Hood could swell, however, if some 4-3 teams view him as an option at defensive tackle, going up against shorter interior linemen.

Because he is still rather young (only soon to be 27) and because Brett Keisel is already 35, with both in free agency, the Steelers may well opt for youth. Another factor other than age to consider is the fact that Hood has never missed a game in his five-year career, while Keisel has missed 12 in that same span, including four this season.

The Steelers know that Hood is capable of starting. He’s started 48 games for the team. But they also know he’s unspectacular, and it’s not clear how much higher his ceiling is, or if he’s already reached it. At the end of the day, Hood should only command a fair price that the Steelers can afford, so I expect him to be brought back, given that they likely won’t have much competition for his services.

Other Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis
Ryan Clark – Unrestricted Free Agent
Emmanuel Sanders – Unrestricted Free Agent
Brett Keisel – Unrestricted Free Agent
Jerricho Cotchery – Unrestricted Free Agent

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • BurgherinMD

    If they can resign him cheap he is valuable as a rotational player. It seems like in 09′ and 10′ his inadequacies were somewhat shielded, and definitely less talked about, because of the talent surrounding him and his rotational role. When Aaron Smith went down early in 11′ the grumblings about his play seemed to begin in earnest. It will be interesting to see if other 4-3 teams offer him more $ and put him back at DT.

  • steeltown

    If they can re-sign him for a modest price, im all for it, he doesn’t provide much in the way of pass rush but he is durable and experienced. What would worry me would be signing him for more than you’re comfortable with for fear of losing him and Keisel in the same year, only to then see him knocked down the depth chart again in a year or two

  • 20Stoney

    I remember the glowing reviews of Ziggy coming out of his first training camp. It just goes to show you that you have to see it on the field before you can believe it.

  • walter mason

    Thank god for Cam or we would still be playing Hood and drowning in mediocrity.

  • dgh57

    While the demotion of Hood’s playing time may or may not of bought him a ticket out of town I think he’ll be allowed to test FA mainly because we have other worries like trying to get Woilds locked up. Signing Hood is a two way street in that he has to be willing to accept a backup role before he signs any contract. Hood offers durability and he knows the system so we’ll see if that is enough to overcome Brian Arnfelt or a draft pick nipping at his heels or not. Myself I’ve seen enough and I’m ready to move on to the next guy!

  • Callentown

    He’s a backup at best. IMO, one of the reasons this defense has fallen. Nearly impossible to replace A. Smith, but Hood is not the answer.

    I prefer we let him go and find someone in FA that can make more of an impact in our defense.

  • alex

    an average player getting average money is all part of the greater mix…lets sign mr. average and Woods, mr. growing, to reasonable money and move forward to greater concerns like Hayward, Worilds and beyond…

  • David Edward

    Think of it this way, if they intend to get better on D and along the DL then how is resigning Hood going to accomplish that? After 5 years, we’ve seen that he’s mediocre at best and substandard more often than not.

    Using any available cap space on him early is not a good move. The better move is to let him walk and see what can be had in the draft. Then in June, after space from the Woodley cut frees up, if Ziggy is still available maybe sign him to a vet minimum contract as a backup. If not, who cares? Even if he signs elsewhere and they don’t get what they are looking for in the draft, there will be other vet backups available.

    Woods is the guy they should sign to a modest deal over Hood.


    We don’t need to resign Ziggy “for cheap”.

    That kind of thinking will lead us right back to 8-8


    agree 100%

  • Jollyrob68

    They need to sign both Hood & Woods.

  • David Edward

    I’d be interested in why you think Ziggy is a need?

  • DrakePirate

    nicely put

  • DrakePirate

    he’s solid

  • Dan

    I think that is the consensus here. He’s worth more than vet minimum just based on he is already trained in the LeBeau’s defense and he is half decent. But it certainly has to be a fairly low amount. There’s many other players I’d not want to risk by consuming cap money on Ziggy, but would still be happy to have him included in the rotation.

  • Virdin Barzey

    There is no fear in losing Ziggy. Name the teams that will be lining up to sign him to more than a bag of chips. Don’t see it. They should get him cheap and he should be the back up.

  • Need Hood? No. He wouldn’t be a bad depth signing but he is not a long term solution as a 3-4 DE.


    An unfortunate byproduct of having a $100 mil QB, you MUST carry some cheap players. Hood, 4 yrs in, he is what is, a serviceable player that lines up every week, but will always going to be a depth guy.

  • sean mcmartin

    Pittsburgh West might offer more. He’s worth back-up cash to Steelers..