THURSDAY, 11:46am: According to Brian McIntyre (via Twitter), Keisel’s two-year deal has an overall value of $3MM. That includes a 2014 base salary of $1MM and a signing bonus of $500K.
WEDNESDAY, 10:05am: The Steelers have officially re-signed Keisel to a two-year contract, the team announced today in a press release. To make room on the roster, Pittsburgh has waived defensive tackle Al Lapuaho.
TUESDAY, 5:01pm: After drawing interest from the Cardinals in the wake of Darnell Dockett‘s season-ending ACL injury, veteran defensive lineman Brett Keisel will instead return to Pittsburgh. According to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter), the Steelers have reached an agreement to re-sign Keisel. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets that a deal should be done by the end of the week. Bouchette was also the first to report (via Twitter) that the two sides were closing in on a deal.
Keisel, 35, is entering his 13th season in the NFL, all of which have been spent in Pittsburgh. He started 12 games in 2013, missing the final four contests while dealing with plantar fasciitis, and racked up 20 tackles and four sacks. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required) were bearish on Keisel’s work, ranking him as just the 36th-best 3-4 end out of 45 qualifiers. However, the Steelers likely place a high value on Keisel’s experience in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s scheme, as Pittsburgh’s current rotation at end includes rookie Stephon Tuitt, third-year player Cameron Heyward, and free agent addition Cam Thomas.
After Keisel cited proximity to his family as the reason for declining to sign with Arizona, it seemed likely that the Steelers might be the only team the veteran was willing to join. In fact, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com wonders (via Twitter) if Keisel’s flirtation with the Cardinals was simply a leverage play in order to pique the Steelers’ interest. However, as of July 28, Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert was still open to a reunion with Keisel, so perhaps the team was waiting for his price to come down.
Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.