So you’re saying there’s still a chance?
Could the Pittsburgh Steelers really have plans to re-sign defensive end Brett Keisel next month? Scott Brown of ESPN.com seems think it’s possible based on the wording used by tight end Heath Miller during a Thursday interview.
Miller was reflecting on when he was one of the younger players on the Steelers and looked up to veterans such as linebacker James Farrior and defensive end Aaron Smith, who each played long after their 30th birthday.
Then he said, “Keisel’s not here right now and he was well into his 30s last year.”
Brown interpreted Miller saying, “Not here right now” as an indication that Keisel will be re-signed at some point prior to the start of training camp. However, the longtime Steelers beat writer does admit that he might be reading too much into the quote.
Miller doesn’t do too many interviews, but when he does, he is usually good at not revealing too much information. Based on his Thursday quote, he really didn’t. In reality, there’s probably a real good chance that he has no idea as to what the Steelers front office is currently thinking. On the other hand, perhaps he’s talked to Keisel.
Earlier in the offseason, Keisel’s agent, Eric Metz, said his client “would retire before taking a job that pays minimum wage.” However, that was two and a half months ago, so perhaps Keisel has changed his mind by now.
When the Steelers reconvene next week for their second set of 2014 OTA practices, they figure to have roughly $8 million in additional salary cap space due to the offseason release of linebacker LaMarr Woodley finally becoming official. While a little bit of that money will be needed to ink the four remaining unsigned draft picks, there still figures to be more than enough left at that point for a few extensions in addition to a modest one-year contract for Keisel.
Currently, new defensive end Cam Thomas has been working with the first-team defense alongside Steve McLendon and Cameron Heyward and that really doesn’t give one a warm and fuzzy feeling. Thomas, in my opinion, is more of rotational backup and spot starter, and being as rookie Stephon Tuitt will likely take some time to develop into a starter, the team could still use Keisel for one more season. Having his veteran presence around for another year also wouldn’t hurt.
Keisel, however, might not be the Steelers only option as there could quite possibly be a few surprising post June 1 cuts around the league as well. Being as there haven’t been any reports of other teams having interest in Keisel so far this offseason, there’s no reason to rush right out to sign him next week. As long as he’s keeping himself in shape and waiting by the phone, that’s all that matters.
For now, we’ll just have to continue to wait and see how this plays out, so it could be a while until we find out if Brown was indeed reading too much into what Miller said on Thursday.