In just a little bit more than a week, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood will be an unrestricted free agent and the organization must decide whether or not to move on from their former first-round draft pick or try to re-sign him for a more few years.
Should the Steelers ultimately decide to let Hood leave, it would mark the first time the organization hasn’t re-signed a first-round defensive draft pick of their own at the conclusion of their rookie contract since former cornerback Deon Figures left via free agency in 1997 to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Figures was drafted by the Steelers in the first-round of the 1993 NFL Draft out of Colorado.
Ever since he was drafted in 2009, Hood, who is all of 27 years-old, has started 46 regular-season games and has dressed for 80 games in total. Despite and occasional back an ankle problem, he has been a picture of health and by my count has been on the weekly injury report just five weeks in his five-year career.
Hood lost is starting job last season to Cameron Heyward, but with Brett Keisel in and out of the lineup during the second half of the season because of an injury, the Missouri product still managed to log nearly 650 defensive snaps in seven starts.
While Hood very well might not be considered a quality starter by the Steelers, he would provide them experienced depth moving forward. So what’s Hood’s market value to the Steelers?
Being as the team signed nose tackle Steve McLendon to a three-year, $7.25 million contract last offesason to be a starter, one would think that Hood’s value to them would be right around there. McLendon was given $2.575 million guaranteed as part of his deal, so if Hood were to sign a three-year contract for roughly the same amount, it would stand to reason he would receive around $2.73 million guaranteed and his first year cap charge on such a deal would be $1.39 million.
Is there another team out there willing to pay Hood more to be a starting penetrating defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense? After all, he is a former first-round draft pick and is still on the right side of 30. We will know the answer to that question very soon.