First, we had to wonder if he was going to retire. Then we had to fear him being poached by the Carolina Panthers. But the Pittsburgh Steelers announced yesterday that they had agreed to terms with long-time general manager Kevin Colbert on a one-year contract extension that will bind him to the team through the end of the 2021 draft.
“We were happy to extend Kevin’s contract for another year, which means that he’ll be here helping us prepare for at least two more of our drafts”, team president Art Rooney II said on Steelers Nation Unite yesterday. “Of course the scouts and Kevin’s team are deep in the draft preparation as we speak, and we’ll be heading over to the Combine in another few weeks. It goes fast”.
“Kevin really keeps us organized and focused and has done a great job for the last—I can’t believe it’ll be his 21st year I think”, he added, Colbert first being hired by the organization in 2000 before moving up to general manager, the first to ever hold that specific title with the Steelers. “It’s been a great run with Kevin and we’re glad to continue to have him on board”.
The Steelers have had quite a resume under Colbert. They have only ever had one losing season in the 20 seasons they have played since 2000, that being a 6-10 year in 2003 that allowed them to draft Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
Pittsburgh has won nine division titles in the past 20 seasons, with 12 trips to the postseason in total. They have reached the AFC Conference Championship Game five times, participating in three Super Bowls, and winning two of them. The New England Patriots are the only team to have won more Super Bowls in that time.
And, interestingly enough, the 2019 season was perhaps the boldest in Colbert’s history. For a change of pace, he had some salary cap space burning a hole in his pocket, thanks to Le’Veon Bell forfeiting over $14 million under his franchise tag.
He used that money to go out and spend in free agency, signing Steven Nelson, who proved to be one of the most underrated signings in the league. They also added Mark Barron and Donte Moncrief, though the latter obviously did not work out.
It didn’t stop there, as, for the first time under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers traded up in the first round of the draft, sending their first- and second-round picks and this year’s third-round pick to the Denver Broncos to move up to get Devin Bush.
And he still wasn’t done. For the first time in five decades, the Steelers traded away a first-round pick, sending their top resource in 2020 to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Minkah Fitzpatrick. He would merely go on to become a first-team All-Pro with seven takeaways and two defensive touchdowns.
Obviously, the Steelers don’t have anywhere near the resources to be so bold this year. 2020 will be more of the resourceful, prudent Colbert that got them through the first couple of decades.