Do Steelers need a GM who is more concerned about the future?

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers have now structured several contracts that will hurt them in future seasons. Do they need a GM who is more concerned about the future?

Kevin Colbert has been one of the single-most valuable assets to the Steelers organization for two decades now. Like anyone else, he has been responsible for a few draft busts along the way (i.e. Jarvis Jones, Artie Burns, and Senquez Golson). However, he also deserves credit for landing Hall of Fame players and Super Bowl champions like Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger.

Despite all of his success and the recent extension the Rooney’s gave him through the 2022 NFL Draft, I have to wonder: would the Steelers be better off with a general manager who is more concerned about building for the future?

For a while now, Colbert has been taking year-to-year contracts with Pittsburgh. Perhaps this is just to appease the organization, but this could be because the long-time GM could decide to call it quits on every year. Though it’s hard to complain about how competitive the Steelers have been under the direction of Mike Tomlin and Colbert, every move that the organization has made in recent years has been for the ‘here and now.’

Why Steelers should consider a different GM when Colbert’s contract is up

As a result of continually pushing his financial problems to the future, some of these heavily backloaded contracts have finally caught up with the Steelers and it’s really starting to bite them. Even more curious is Pittsburgh’s decision to go with voidable years on a handful of these new contracts. So far, Roethlisberger, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Cameron Sutton have each received deals with voidable years that will spread their cap hits all the way through the 2025 season.

While adding these ‘voidable years’ allows the Steelers to keep some key players on cheap deals right now, this money adds up, and it’s going to handicap this team in the future – a future that Kevin Colbert probably will never have to worry about.

Instead of being able to maximize this money for players already on the roster or bolster this group with quality free agents after Colbert is gone, the next general manager is going to be feeling the effects of some of the contracts Colbert is responsible for right now. Who knows how many more voidable year deals Colbert is going to make before he decides to call it quits and how that is going to affect this team in the future.

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With Ben Roethlisberger returning for what looks to be his final season, I can understand the urgency of trying to win now. However, Pittsburgh’s chances of winning it all are still very slim and they’ve already lost a handful of good football players in free agency. At some point, the risk of doing these deals outweighs the slight chance for the reward. Maybe it’s time the Steelers start thinking about hiring a more future-minded general manager when Kevin Colbert’s contract expires after the 2022 NFL Draft.