The Arizona Cardinals lost defensive tackle Darnell Dockett to a season-ending knee injury Monday and already there’s speculation that former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel could be headed out west.
Keisel, who will turn 36 in September, has received little, if any, interest from teams during the offseason. Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 in Arizona posted on Twitter Monday evening that Keisel seems like a natural fit for the Cardinals due to his relationship with head coach Bruce Arians and defensive line coach Brentson Buckner.
Several other members of the media have joined in with Jurecki’s speculation as Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers also sees Keisel as a natural fit in Arizona.
Brett Keisel 6'5 285 (Steelers 2002-2013) seems like a natural fit w/ his a relationship Bruce Arians & Cards D-Line coach Brentson Buckner.
— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) August 19, 2014
— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) August 19, 2014
With two preseason games already in books for the Steelers, it appears as though they are comfortable with their depth on their defensive line. Rookie second-round draft pick Stephon Tuitt has progressed nicely during the offseason and newcomer Cam Thomas appears set to open the season as the starter opposite Cameron Heyward. Rookie undrafted free agent Josh Mauro has also turned heads during the preseason and thus has a chance of making the final 53 man roster.
Keisel, who was drafted by the Steelers in the seventh-round of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Brigham Young, spent 12 seasons in Pittsburgh and was part of two Super Bowl winning teams. His last contract expired at the end of the 2013 season after he started 12 games for the Steelers and recorded 29 total tackles and four sacks in 575 snaps played.
During the offseason, Keisel’s agent Eric Metz reportedly said that his client would rather retire than play for the minimum in 2014. The Cardinals reportedly have a lot of salary cap space to work with, so it will be interesting to see if they do indeed reach out to him.
Should Keisel wind up signing with Pittsburgh West, he will recognize several of his new teammates as linebacker Larry Foote, nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, tackle Max Starks and running back Jonathan Dwyer are all former Steelers players that are currently under contract with the Cardinals.