Even in spite of the fact that he has been under a wave of criticism for a misspoken comment, Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert has been as public as ever over the course of the past week and a half.
He first spoke to a group of local reporters last Wednesday during a half-hour media session, which generated the unfortunate ’52 kids’ comment that brought the heat upon him. He spoke again on the NFL Network two days later, and then did the rounds this past Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, starting with a press conference.
He also spoke directly with Missi Matthews for an exclusive for the team’s website, in which he hit quickly on a number of subjects. One of the questions that he fielded from Matthews was regarding the status of Ben Roethlisberger’s pending contract extension.
The 15-year veteran is about to turn 37 and is entering the final year of his contract, so they want to get an extension wrapped up. Matthews was asked if it was important to get it done sooner rather than later and how the Antonio Brown trade pursuit might affect that.
“Any time you do a contract, it has to be agreeable on both sides”, Colbert said. “So you have to continue to work through the salary cap implications, be it positive or negative. You have some general ideas about what you want to offer, what he may be looking for, then you just try to work to find that common ground, and I’m pretty positive that’ll happen sooner than later”.
— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) February 27, 2019
Will it happen before free agency begins? There are now fewer than two weeks remaining before the start of the new league year as we enter the month of March, but certainly that is enough time to get a contract done that both sides are motivated to hammer out.
Depending on what kind of money he is given, it’s likely that the Steelers would be able to knock his 2019 salary cap down a hair to give them even more breathing room in terms of the salary cap, so if they have any aspirations of being a big player in free agency, it might serve them to get it done in time for that, though it’s not necessary.
Roethlisberger threw for over 5000 yards and set a new franchise record with 34 touchdown passes, but his 16 interceptions were also the most in the NFL and among the highest totals of his career. What’s more, his percentage of turnover-worthy throws was elevated generally, and he led the NFL in red zone interceptions as well.
The 2019 season will mark the second with Randy Fichtner as offensive coordinator. In their first year together, the Steelers posted the highest red zone touchdown percentage in the NFL over the past several years, but there were other things that could use tweaking.