The Steelers finally made some moves in what has been a quiet offseason for them by re-signing defensive end Brett Keisel and free agent safety Ryan Clark. The signing of Keisel likely means the end of Kimo von Oelhoffen's run with the Steelers, a popular player who will be missed. But in Keisel, the Steelers get a younger play (he's 27) that's ready to start.
With Clark, the signing likely means safety Chris Hope will move on. While Hope is a strong player, his best attribute was as a compliment to the wide-ranging Troy Polomalu. Clark, just 26, comes at a cheaper price than Hope is asking for, and is at least his equal as a defender. As I predicted, the Steelers are letting Hope go.
In other news, tight end Jermane Tuman re-signed with the Steelers after Pittsburgh invited free agent Aaron Shea for a visit. Tuman quickly negotiated a deal to stay with the Steelers.
The only remaining question is what the Steelers will do with free agent cornerbacks Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor. The problem for Taylor is that if a team signs him, they'll have to compensate Pittsburgh with a first round pick, likely too high a price. If Taylor does go elsewhere, corner Bryant McFadden looks ready to start anyway. Nevertheless, as predicted, I expect Taylor to return.
In the end, the recent moves mean that the Steelers' nucleus of starters from the Super Bowl championship team is going to be back. Only Randle El's departure is significant, in light of the recent activities. To fill his void, the Steelers have several in house options in Cedrick Wilson and Nate Washington, or they may turn to the draft. Sinorice Moss, if still on the board, would be a great fit.