Sunday, February 19, 2006

Steelers' free agents: Part IV (unrestricted FA's, defense)

DE Brett Keisel is in line to become a starting defensive end, provided the Steelers are able to re-sign him. If Keisel comes back then 35-year-old DE Kimo von Oelhoffen becomes expendable, although a one-year contract for Oelhoffen isn't out of the realm of possibility.

LB Clint Kriewaldt is the defensive version of Sean Morey, not quite an NFL-quality position player but valuable on special teams. Kriewaldt will likely be back for somewhere near the minimum veteran salary.

CB Deshea Townsend has always played well for the Steelers, but last year's second-round pick, Bryant McFadden, is on track to be a starter in 2006, so the team won't offer Townsend more than a third cornerback's salary.

Finally, FS Chris Hope will be a priority in free agency, as the Steelers prefer to avoid breaking up the young safety tandem of Hope and Troy Polamalu (who we affectionately refer to as "Pu," mostly due to Troy's Pooh-like play during his rookie season).


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