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Pittsburgh Steelers are Poised to Receive Salary Cap Release Early in the Week

May 31st, 2014 at 12:14 AM
By Mark Mihalko

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed five of their nine draft picks to this point and will likely finish that part of their house cleaning this week as LaMarr Woodley will finally come off the salary cap. Once that is finished, the team may still have some money to play with (even before potentially extending a couple players). The biggest question will be who would be the likely candidates.

'Chargers @ Steelers' photo (c) 2012, Fido - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Of the former Steelers still on the open market, defensive end Brett Keisel would likely make the most sense. Yes, Keisel has aged and is coming off one of his worst seasons, but the team could look at his experience as a plus as they attempt to ease second round pick Stephon Tuitt into the line-up. Of course, they did sign Cam Thomas, and do have some young players that are basically mysteries at this point, but the also lack experience up front.

Keisel could be an attractive option if he is healthy and willing to accept a one-year contract. At his elevated age and having some young players on the roster, the Steelers would appear to be in a solid bargaining position.

Keisel would also appear to be in a better position than the two other former Steelers rumored to be interested in a return: Santonio Holmes and James Harrison. In both of those cases, there positions would appear to be in a better place than the defensive line. If Keisel were to return, he would likely be the opening day starter. In the case of Holmes or Harrison, there would have to be a preseason injury to create that option.

Plus by adding these players, even on a one-year contract, will take snaps away from players that must see the field to gain experience. At wide receiver, if healthy, Markus Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant must see playing time and hopefully develop into playmakers. Yes, Holmes, could be an upgrade at the bottom of the depth chart, but would he be willing and able to play special teams? That is a question that must be considered prior to any conversation.

That same conversation must be had when talking about Harrison. Sure, the linebacker position may not have the same depth as wide receiver, but there are young players that must play to gather experience. Harrison could be a valuable mentor, however, the Steelers hired former Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter as a defensive assistant to take on that role. A move that makes sense, as his skillset is more inline with the players penciled in as starters than Harrisons’.

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Tags: Brett Keisel, Football, James Harrison, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Santonio Holmes, Stephon Tuitt

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