Steelers front office leader Kevin Colbert is not a household name. But you could argue that the 11-year director of football operations is the most important figure in the Steelers organization. In Colbert’s run, the Steelers have enjoyed utter stability and, of course, two Super Bowl titles. Today, the team announced that Colbert, 53, has received a five-year contract extension. Financial terms were not released.
Colbert’s brilliance is that the front office he oversees truly does draft for the future. The Steelers consistently take rookies who fit their system, groom them as backups for a year or two then put them on the field only once they’re ready to blossom into standup starters or stars. Examples of players who have taken this path include Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Willie Colon, Chris Kemoeatu, Lawrence Timmons, Troy Polamalu, LaMarr Woodley and Ike Taylor.
This type of foundation-building model hinges not only on shrewd talent evaluation, but wise salary cap management. With so many cost-effective veterans on the roster, very rarely do the Steelers have to lean heavily on a rookie. (The last time they did was with Ben Roethlisberger in 2004; Pittsburgh went 15-1 that year.)
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