TUESDAY, 10:03am: The Steelers have officially announced that Butler is the team’s new defensive coordinator (Twitter link).
MONDAY, 9:29pm: The Steelers are expected to promote linebackers coach Keith Butler to defensive coordinator, reports Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who adds that the move could be announced on Tuesday. Per Dulac, Butler met with head coach Mike Tomlin on Monday, and is set to a sign a three-year deal to replace longtime DC Dick LeBeau, who resigned on Saturday.
Butler, 55, will be tasked with improving a defense that has regressed in recent years — the unit has seen its DVOA ranking slip from seventh, to 13th, to 19th, to 30th from 2011-2014. After employing the league’s oldest defense in 2013, Pittsburgh has made an effort to get younger, adding defenders like Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt, and Jarvis Jones in the past two drafts. However, 2014 franchise player Jason Worilds is set to hit free agency in March, meaning the club could be missing one of its impact players in 2015.
Per Dulac, one of the reasons the Steelers declined to retain LeBeau is that Butler’s three-year contract had expired, meaning he was free to talk to other clubs about defensive coordinator jobs. Butler, who started 132 games as a player after being selected in the second round of the 1978 draft, has been in his current role since 2003. Pittsburgh is expected to promote one of its assistant LB coaches — former Steelers players Jerry Olsavsky and Joey Porter — to lead its linebacking corps.