The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: General manager Kevin Colbert will indeed retire when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retires.
Explanation: After it was reported that the Steelers and general manager Kevin Colbert agreed to a one-year contract extension, with his previously stating that he would be operating on one-year deals from now on, Aditi Kinkhabwala on Twitter claimed that he has ‘less publicly’ communicated that he would retire when Ben Roethlisberger does. Roethlisberger’s contract expires after the 2021 season, and there may be no interest in the team carrying him beyond then.
This was always a possibility, and something that we discussed after Roethlisberger actually signed that extension ahead of the 2019 season. In fact, we speculated that it could be the final countdown for a number of players, including Maurkice Pouncey, though he beat the rest to the punch.
The departure of a franchise quarterback is a landmark, seismic shift in the timeline of any organization, and pretty much is always accompanied by a shuffling of the deck in its wake. Roethlisberger’s retirement, which certainly feels imminent, will be no different.
Colbert is 64 years old and has served more than two decades in the Steelers organization already after a life in football. He’ll be ready to hang it up at any time. Sealing his legacy with the end of the Roethlisberger era is the most plausible outcome.
While it’s true that the departure of a franchise quarterback is a major milestone and is often accompanied with corresponding movement, there is nothing directly linking Roethlisberger’s tenure to Colbert’s.
From appearances, the Steelers have no interest in retaining Roethlisberger beyond this season, from their asking him to take a pay cut and having his contract void shortly after the Super Bowl. Colbert doesn’t need to be in shape or have a rocket arm to do his job, and he’s still doing it well.
There is no guaranteeing that Roethlisberger will even hang it up this year, nor any indication that Colbert’s retirement is imminent. Right now, there’s no way to predict when either one of them will call it quits, though Roethlisberger appears necessarily to be closer to the end due to the physical requirements of his job.