Door Opening for Brett Kesiel’s Return to Steelers in 2014?

It has been a busy three weeks for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steelers Nation. LaMarr Woodley has been cut and now replaced Black and Gold with the Silver and Black. Jason Worilds is the Steelers 10 million dollar transition man.

They also brought back Guy Whimper, Greg Warren, and Michael Palmer.

AT this point they remain at or just a smidge below the NFL’s salary cap. And with that the franchise will apparently turn its attention to the coming 2014 NFL Draft.

Thus far the Steelers still have lost more than they’ve gained, but the losses of Jonathan Dwyer, Jerricho Cotchery, and Emmanuel Sanders have been mitigated with what on paper appear to be more cost-effective options.

  • Depth on the defensive line remains thin, however. 

Word is that Cam Thomas was brought into to provide depth at defensive end, indicating that Steve McLendon will stay at nose tackle, and that someone else will start at opposite Cameron Heyward on the defensive line.

But who?

The Steelers will almost certainly draft a defensive lineman. But rookies don’t often start in Dick LeBeau’s system, and when they do, such as in 2013, the results leave a lot to be desired. And there are not many if any starter-capable free agent defensive lineman still waiting for the phone to ring.

The Steelers do have Brian Arnfelt, who had a good preseason, but its doubtful Dick LeBeau and Johnny Mitchell have him penciled in as a starter.

Kesiel has said that he does not want to finish his career outside of Pittsburgh, but feels he has something left in the tank and will if he has to.  Keisel’s phone has been quiet too, if press reports are any indication.

  • Going into free agency the words “not expected back” cropped up along side Kesiel’s name. 

That may be changing. Dale Lolley reported that with Alex Carrington signing with St. Louis, the Steelers would be more open to bringing back Keisel. Whether he’s simply reading the tea leaves or is reporting from what a source has told him is unknown.

Salary could be an issue. Kesiel’s agent has said he will not play for the league minimum. At 36, he doesn’t have but one more NFL payday coming to him, and his desire to make it count financially makes a lot of sense.

  • Still he’s got to be realistic about what the market will be for a lineman with his mileage. 

Given that the Steelers could make him some sort of offer that is above the league minimum yet one that does not hamstring the team’s salary cap flexibility for the balance of 2014. As was said here before, Brett Keisel doesn’t have a lot left in the tank, but that thank isn’t empty if his 2013 performance is any indicator.

Nothing will happen until June 1st, but bringing Keisel is a good idea.

Thanks for visiting. Click here for the rest of Steel Curtain Rising or here to see our Steelers 2014 Free Agent Focus.

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