Speculation That The Steelers Will Re-Sign DE Brett Keisel Still Ongoing

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.

Brown writes:

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.

  • treeher

    I want him on the team even if all he does is sit on the sidelines (although I see him getting his share of snaps). His presence in the locker room and on the practice field will more than justify his salary.

  • John C

    I really don’t see us signing him or Harrison at this point as I think the Steelers are committed to the youth movement that is going on. However, injuries or disappointing play by any of our DEs an OLBs could change that. I will be interested in seeing who becomes available after June 1 – especially at OLB. I have no faith in Carter and am worried about Jones still having growing pains….our depth at OLB is concerning.

  • srdan

    I have come around to the idea of the steelers moving on from these vets. I’d rather have harrison than kiesel since we have nobody behind jj and worldis. At least you could say that we have 3 DEs Cam, Cam and Steph.

    I don’t count carter.

  • Steelers12328882

    I think we would’ve found a way to sign him already if he was in the Steelers plans. Never say never especially when it comes to injuries, but as of right now I’d bet he’s not coming back. The guy will be 36, and signing him will only cut into the development of young players like Tuitt and Arnfelt. Who knows, maybe Williams, Mauro or Philon will develop too.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Scott Brown is a perfect example of the media making things up out of nothing. I
    wonder how he would have twisted,” anymore”, if that was used in place of , ” right now”.

  • Steel PAul

    It makes sense, if you look at how the Steelers have been setting up other young players with someone to help them. Maybe they sign Keisel for depth and to give Tuitt some much-needed guidance in his first year.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I have completely mixed feelings about this.

    First, he could bring value by coming back. He allows the team to start Heyward, play him a bunch, play Thomas, Tuitt, and Thomas in a rotation to keep them fresh, and play Thomas some at the NT position truly as a flex player. He brings a great deal of experience and can teach Tuitt the ropes of being a DE here in Pittsburgh.

    On the other hand, if the team truly likes Williams and Arnfelt, trusts that Thomas can handle enough snaps until Tuitt is ready, it could potentially SLOW Tuitts development. I think DL sometimes needs to have his vets removed as an option if he is going to play the kids. Why is Shazier already with the starters? Because the other option only played a portion of the year and is only one year further along on his development. If Foote was here, Shazier wouldn’t be with the 1s. The youth movement is needed.

  • dgh57

    I like Keisel, but the only way I see us resigning him is if the young guys seem to be taking longer to develop as we move through the preseason. That’s something I wouldn’t want to see happen as it’s time for the younger players to step up!

  • Jason Brant

    I love The Beard, but he isnt’ coming back, barring a rash of injuries.

  • I truly don’t think they had the money available after their FA signings to sign him, and it’s a fine line between cutting into a young players development and a young player learning from and developing from a player like Brett Keisel. I am not saying i disagree with you on whether he is in their plans right now or not bc I am on the fence myself. I just think it’s really going to come down to how they feel about Tuitt…do they think he is capable of starting and playing at a level they are comfortable with as a rookie in their scheme (which they don’t typically do, especially at DE…I can’t recall the last rookie, but I do think Tuitt is the most ready DE they have drafted in forever so it’s very possible), and of course as you previously stated, injuries, how do they feel if Tuitt or Heyward went down or what if they do go down (hope not) in camp. Alot of if’s, but as much as I love the beard, I am rooting for Tuitt to blow up in camp and give them every reason not to bring Keisel back.

  • Big White

    I didn’t know Heath was part of the front office now.

  • David Rose

    I’m not sure his agent has played his cards right here. Promoting the idea that your client looks at themselves as being at the point of retirement is probably not the best way to fight against the image that Keisel is over the hill and not worth a higher dollar contract.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I am going to miss him arriving in a dump truck and hard hat, setting an example for the youngsters, and helping the team as well. But I think I would go with the young guys. They need as many reps as possible. Which reminds me of something that’s much, much more important.

    The FO needs to leave a little cash available for later in the year. Why? Because you have to go with the odds that someone will go down with injuries between now and the start of the season. With a few million to go shopping you can get a vet like perhaps Keisel or others that can help right away if needed. Even a guy that initially gets cut (If he got enough reps in the summer) can come back and help if injuries dictate.

    And lastly, there will be some damn good players cut before the season begins, and the Steelers could pick up someone that is quite good, but only if the have some cap money leftover. Why bother picking up guys on the crap heap now when there will be much, much better players available when the last cuts are made?

  • Biggie

    Though I would have no problem seeing Keisel come back for a year while Tuitt and Thomas adapt to the defense and at the least play in a rotation I don’t see it happening, save injury. I loved watching The Beard play and giving 100% every down, but as hard as it is to see him go, ala Farrior, A. Smith, Hampton and the lot it is likely time to move on.

  • Big White

    Why not make Keisel an assistant like Joey Porter, or the assistant to the assistant to the assistant?

  • 1stepforward

    Nobody will argue that Kiesel or Harrison are the players that they once were, but, looking at the depth chart, wouldn’t they both be at least the third best player at their position, on the team, if they were signed? I’d sign both to one-year contracts on Monday and I think the Steelers WILL sign both by training camp.

  • Dan

    Even if they are better players than the best of the rookies, we’d have to consider the loss of reps and development of the new guys by having the old guys on the roster and playing snaps. Maybe they’d help in 2014, but would it hurt 2015 and beyond? Debatable. It is a shame in our current system that respected, talented leaders have to “stay in shape and sit by the phone”, but it is what it is. That being said, it will make me smile if at some point this summer I bring up Steelersdepot and see a headline that we resigned Keisel.

  • Lewis

    I would marry this man if I were into beards….and men.

  • Big White

    Cam Thomas will start and play well. San Diego totally misused him.

  • srdan

    He can learn from cam. The last ten games he had last year were better than any 10 game stretch the beard had. There is a reason he was a first round pick

  • Steel PAul

    Yeah but…

    What if Cam goes down? We have a rookie, a back-up cast-off from S.D. and two guys who have taken a total of 2 snaps. And one of those people is supposed to be starting at the other DE spot.

    Keisel makes sense for depth and to help provide a veteran presence.