Will the 2014 opponents of the Pittsburgh Steelers have to “Fear the Beard” for one more year?
According to a Monday report by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers are interested in re-signing veteran defensive end Brett Keisel to a one-year, qualifying contract.
If indeed Keisel were to accept such a deal to return for a 13th season, it would mean that he would earn a $955,000 base salary and likely a $65,000 signing bonus in 2014. Keisel’s cap charge then would only be $635,000 because of the veteran minimum salary benefit rule in the CBA.
As I have stated several times, signing Keisel to such a deal would really be a no-lose situation for the Steelers as they could use the veteran at the beginning of the season as a starter and then slowly transition to second-round draft pick Stephon Tuitt.
If ultimately re-signed, Keisel would easily be one of the top-six oldest defensive players in the league in 2014, as he will turn 36 years of age in September.
Earlier in the offseason, Eric Mertz, Keisel’s agent, said that his client would rather retire than play for minimum wage in 2014. It sounds like we will find out over the course of the next few weeks if Keisel has changed his stance.