Could Brett Keisel Help A Struggling Bengals Defense?


Oct 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (99) against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Keisel was released from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday afternoon with a year left on his contract. Keisel has been a staple in the Steelers’ defense, creating havoc in the backfield while functioning as a good pass defender.  The release was announced on the Steelers official Twitter page.

With this in mind, would Brett Keisel make for a solid depth and situational option for the Bengals? Cincinnati is no stranger to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are division rivals who’ve dipped into the Steelers pool before; Cincinnati signed James Harrison after being cut by the Steelers during the 2013 season. The Bengals could have used Harrison’s skills this past season, as they suffered numerous injuries in 2014.  Rather, Harrison was cut and eventually returned to Pittsburgh only a few weeks after “retiring,” due to an injury to Jarvis Jones.

Brett Keisel had a good 2014 campaign before suffering a torn triceps, which forced him to miss the final four games of the season. According to’s Scott Brown, Keisel finished with 12 quarterback pressures in 12 games, he had 17 tackles, one sack, an interception, and five pass deflections as a situational player in a 3-4 set defense.  The Bengals, who have been looking to apply more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, could use Keisel’s expert knowledge and solid frame to pressure the opposition’s backfield.

Cincinnati’s defense has had a string of bad luck over the past two years losing Geno Atkins to a torn ACL in 2013, losing Vontaze Burfict for much of the 2014 season due to concussions and a knee injury. They also lost a vital piece to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2014 free agency when Michael Johnson took more money than Cincinnati was offering. Keisel could be a solid depth piece at defensive end and could play the same situational role he did in Pittsburgh to help the Bengals’ struggling pass defense.

If Cincinnati makes this move and brings in a veteran, especially one who has been successful in the playoffs, it could bring new life to young players like Margus Hunt and Will Clarke, helping them to grow in their role and give Wallace Gilberry and Carlos Dunlap “breathers.”  The concern is whether his age and latest injury will affect Keisel’s ability to be productive heading into 2015?  Regardless, it’s a question worth looking into.

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