With Free Agency just under a month away it’s time to take a look at the 21 Steelers who are about to come unrestricted free agents on March 11th. In the first edition we’ll take a look at DE Brett Keisel.
Keisel was drafted in the seventh round of the 2002 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. It took him a few years to become the force he eventually became on the defensive line, accumulating 246 tackles and 32 sacks over his 12 seasons. In 2013 Keisel missed four games due to injury but still managed 29 tackles, 4 sacks, and a forced fumble. Keisel has missed a total of 18 games due to injury in the past six seasons.
Keisel is obviously a Steeler fan favorite both for his on the field play and his off the field charitable contributions throughout the city of Pittsburgh. Just last week, Keisel raised over $50,000 for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for his annual “Shear Da Beard” party. Keisel has said that he hopes to retire a Steeler and plans to raise his children in Pittsburgh.
Entering his 13th NFL season and at 35 Keisel is realistic about his future in the NFL. While he still feels like he can play and contribute to a team, he knows that the NFL is a business and the business favors youth.
“This business is all about youth. It’s up in the air; it really is. I feel fortunate to have been part of success. I feel fortunate to have been a part of championship football. I know that I’m a lot luckier than a lot of players that go through the NFL and for that I’ll always be grateful.” – Brett Keisel
It’s no secret that the Steelers defense needs to get younger. There isn’t a unit on the defensive squad that doesn’t need to be addressed this offseason, either by free agency or draft. The decision on Keisel is not going to be an easy one, by any means.
If the Steelers are going to make an offer to Keisel it’s going to be a low-cost, low-risk amount because they just can’t afford a high price on a player with Keisel’s age and injury history. No matter how much we love him in the Black & Gold; it might not work out that way. Now, Keisel seems realistic about his situation, so there may not be the standoff that took place last offseason when longtime Steeler favorite James Harrison was asked to take a pay cut and eventually was released and signed with Cincinnati. My gut tells me that the Steelers make a low but fair offer to Keisel and Keisel stays in Pittsburgh for the remainder of his career.
What are your thoughts, Steeler Nation? Do you see Brett Keisel in the Black & Gold next year?