Last month, we wrote about Rotoworld ranking Kevin Colbert in the top three of all GMs. While NJ.com didn’t put Colbert on their podium, he does still sit in the top five. The website ranked all 32 general managers in the game, settling on 5th place for the man running the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In their overview of him, author Darryl Slater wrote:
“He has an excellent track record with the Steelers since 2000, but we aren’t so sure about some of his recent moves, including the departures of Antonio Brown (trade) and Le’Veon Bell (free agency) this offseason. Still, he does have those two Super Bowl titles, and has won despite never spending a ton of money in free agency.”
Overall, a fair assessment from an outside perspective. Losing Brown and Bell are obviously moves not to be doing cartwheels over but in hindsight, they make sense. Brown wanted out and keeping him simply wasn’t an option. Though the trade return was underwhelming, it gave Pittsburgh the ammunition to make a rare and bold first round trade, moving up ten spots to select Devin Bush. So the draft capital was at least well spent.
Bell simply came down to money. We can debate over the particulars of the contract he received with the Jets, the amount of guaranteed money and if sitting out last year was worth it. But it’s also fair to say he got less money than what he wanted from the Steelers and expected to receive once he hit the market. James Conner isn’t of Bell’s caliber but the difference in money, Conner still cheap on his rookie deal, makes it difficult to be mad at Colbert for not giving in to Bell’s demands.
Pittsburgh did go big, relatively speaking anyway, in free agency this year signing Steven Nelson, Donte Moncrief, and Mark Barron to sizable deals. The $8 million per year Nelson earned makes him the highest free agent in team history during the “main” free agency period. Joe Haden’s contract surpassed that but didn’t come until late August. Given all the holes on the roster, the aggressive approach was the right one.
Ahead of Colbert sat some usual suspects. Bill Belichick, and John Schneider/Pete Carroll though there’s at least one quasi-surprise worth checking out in the top five, which I’ll again leave the link for you to find out.
At the bottom of the list? Washington’s Bruce Allen, we all know Dan Snyder runs the show, the Giants’ David Gettleman, and Tampa’s Jason Licht.