There seems to be much consternation among fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers after free agent defensive end candidate Alex Carrington left the team facility today without a contract, but the simple fact of the matter is that such things happen all the time, and doesn’t prevent a deal from developing in the future.
To that end, Ian Rapoport has Tweeted that Carrington did in fact have a good visit with the Steelers today, and that he passed the team’s physical examination. More to the point, he says that both sides will continue to talk.
DL Alex Carrington had good visit with #Steelers today, taking and passing a physical. Both sides will continue to talk, per source.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2014
It’s unclear as of right now whether or not Carrington has any other visits already scheduled, but it’s certainly not unlikely that more will come in the near future. The Steelers could put an end to that by working out a contract before he meets with another team, as appears to be a theme this year.
Defensive end quickly became a critical need after two of the Steelers’ three free agents at the position—Ziggy Hood and Al Woods—signed elsewhere for more money than the team was willing to pay them.
The only players at defensive end behind Cameron Heyward are two second-year low-pedigreed players in the form of Brian Arnfelt, who showed well last preseason, and Nick Williams, who was drafted with the understanding that he would be a project even before spending the year on injured reserve.
Woods, who was also interior-capable and started two games at nose tackle last season, appears to have been replaced by former San Diego Chargers defensive lineman Cam Thomas, or “Baby Zilla”.
Thomas, a former fifth-round pick, signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the team today. While Woods leans more toward defensive end but is interior-capable, Thomas tends to lean the other way, closer to a nose tackle by default at 330 pounds.
Working out a contract with Carrington would go a long way toward solidifying the defensive line after early losses. Should that fail, it can probably be expected that Brett Keisel will be brought back for one more season.