Even in the most stable of organizations, change can happen in a hurry, and all at once, given the right set of circumstances. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of one of their most significant ‘moments’ within the organization’s most recent history, which always comes with navigating the waters of the tail end of a franchise quarterback’s career, but it goes beyond that.
Not only have the Steelers had their answer at quarterback for more than a decade and a half, they have also had stability at the most significant pillars of the non-player portion of the process as well. Head coach Mike Tomlin is heading into his 15th season. Kevin Colbert has been the head of the front office for two decades.
But for how much longer? For either one of them? While Art Rooney II reiterated recently that the organization is still very much in Tomlin’s corner and intends to revisit his contract this offseason to extend their collaboration, Colbert’s future is murkier—by his choosing.
Now in his mid-60s, Colbert and others have made it clear that the general manager is taking the remainder of his tenure on a year-to-year basis, and his current contract only runs through to the end of the 2021 NFL Draft.
He spoke to members of the media earlier today for about half an hour, and addressed a number of topics in the process. At one point, he was asked to address his contract status, and he told reporters that he has not yet discussed his future with the team, with Missi Matthews reporting via Twitter that they are prioritizing free agency first.
Colbert, who has been going year-to-year, said he hasn’t discussed his future with Art Rooney II yet because they’re focusing on the team and Free Agency and his contract runs until the end of May.
— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) February 17, 2021
Will Graves of the Associated Press quoted him as saying that he is fortunate the team is “willing to work with me on a year-to-year basis”, adding, “quite frankly that’s all I deserve because we have to prove ourselves each and every year”.
Colbert on his contract status, which runs out in the spring:
“Fortunately (the Steelers are) willing to work with me on a year to year basis, quite frankly that’s all I deserve because we have to prove ourselves each and every year.”
— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) February 17, 2021
He did not exactly give a glowing endorsement of himself, either, following a 12-4 season that saw the Steelers lose five of their final six games, including a postseason loss to the Cleveland Browns. “Any season that ends without a Super Bowl is never good enough”, he said, via Gerry Dulac.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert: “Any season that ends w out a Super Bowl is never good enough. I know the job I did, whatever that roster was, it wasn’t good enough. It is my job to put a 53-man roster together that isn’t coming up short at end of season.”
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) February 17, 2021
“I know the job I did, whatever the roster was, it wasn’t good enough. It is my job to put a 53-man roster together that isn’t coming up short at the end of the season”, he went on. This offseason, the biggest question is whether or not they need to move on to other alternatives at the quarterback position.
In spite of his own assessment, Colbert has made some significant moves in recent years, moving up in the first round in 2019 to acquire inside linebacker Devin Bush, later trading for All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and putting together a very productive 2020 rookie class featuring potentially three starters, despite having only six draft picks, and none in the first round.