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Steelers GM Kevin Colbert Expects Several Changes This Offseason


Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert talked to members of the Pittsburgh media on Wednesday and below is a summation of what he said based on the tweets sent out by Ed Bouchette and Bob Labriola.

Colbert reportedly referred to the team being 8-8 in 2012 several times in his talk, meaning of course that it was unacceptable. Colbert said, “If we don\’t change a roster that produced 8-8, we\’d be silly to expect a better result.” He also added, “We\’re not married to anybody.”

As far as offseason front office work goes, Colbert indicated that the team was unlikely to use the franchise tag on any of their unrestricted free agents this offseason. That is really not shocking news as nobody expected that they would. They couldn\’t afford to from a salary cap standpoint anyways.

As far as unrestricted players such as cornerback Keenan Lewis, guard Ramon Foster and tackle Max Starks go, Colbert appeared to give the indication that all would be allowed to test the free agency waters. “We won\’t know what an individual player will cost until he gets out there,” Colbert reportedly said.

It should not be news that wide receiver Mike Wallace and running back Rashard Mendenhall will most likely be allowed to fly the coop as that writing has been on the wall for some time now. Colbert, however, didn\’t mention them specifically.

The first offseason priority for the Steelers will be to get under the cap by the March deadline and Colbert indicated that process will include making terminations and doing contract restructures and extensions. No surprises there.

The candidates of course to be restructured are quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, linebacker LaMarr Woodley, linebacker Lawrence Timmons and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Although Colbert didn\’t say it, the candidates to be terminated have to be linebacker James Harrison and guard Willie Colon. Neither of these two names should be a surprise.

Colbert also voiced his unhappiness about the Steelers running game in 2012, and said, “Where we were in the running game last year was indicative of the talent at the position … That group of players didn\’t produce the way we anticipated they would.”

Both Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are restricted free agents this offseason, but due to the current lack of running backs under contract right now for 2013, you still have to think that both will be tendered at the lowest level. That, however, is not guaranteed by the way.

Colbert said that they do not regret the decision to release running back Chris Rainey following his arrest last week in Florida. The Steelers GM reportedly said in regard to Rainey, “When we cut a player because of discipline, it\’s because the player has lost the trust of the organization.”

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Kevin Gobleck

    I have a feeling this draft coming up will lean more towards offense with the way he is talking

  • steeltown

    I definitely get the feeling that if a good RB prospect is there in the 2nd or 3rd Rd they will jump on it

  • steeltown

    No choice really but to tender Dwyer and Redman, but they WILL draft a RB at some point.. and Im leaning toward the early/middle Rds. Lets face it, besides the turnovers last year, the two biggest issues were the running game and pressuring the opposing QB, if Harrison is ultimately released, they may go pass rusher early as well

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I could see us making a stretch for Lacy now from bama heck we might even try to draft Bamas guard too who knows.

  • steeltown

    I’m not so sure they’ll go OL again, especially if Foster is re-signed, but It’s clear by his words he was not impressed with the RB’s that were on roster last year.. I think Dwyer would be an excellent #2

  • SteelerPigeon

    Dave I know that you do not like early mocks and are waiting until after the senior bowl to make any yours, but I was wondering if you have looked at Eddie Lacy at all? Curious because I was thinking to myself whether he is the real deal or if the best offensive line in college football made him look better than he is?

    Nevertheless, the are other backs out there that could fit the Steelers in a later round like Montee Ball or Le’Veon Bell.

    I know the front office will make the right moves.

  • Jollyrob68

    I read and agree that they should tender Dwyer and not Redman due to him being 29. They should try to resign readman but not at the tender amount. However if Bruce Arians gets The Arizona job I can see redman going there.
    It’s time for a youth movement and that includes Coaches. You already know I think its Keith Butler time.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Yeah you probably right, but running back wise i hope to get either Lacy, Montee Ball, Or Marcus Lattimore

  • zyzak

    Where’s Haley?

  • zyzak

    I think Butler has less than a 50% chance of being DC

  • steeltown

    Obviously Lacy would be awesome, but not sure I’d go with Lattimore due to multiple knee injuries. Montee Ball would be my pick, he’ll probably slide some in the draft due to his so called “slow 40 times” (Arian Foster and Alfred Morris both had slow 4o times and ultimately slide in the draft for that exact reason, ha!) so we could hopefully get him at great value

  • steeltown

    <—– Please re-sign me

  • Tom

    The one thing that I see in the four remaining teams is that they all can put points on the scoreboard. I won’t be surprised to see a WR, RB, and TE all drafted within the first 4 rounds.

    I know it would not be a popular move….but I think that they should seriously think about the pros and cons of releasing Troy. Due to injury, he has missed 22 of their last 64 regular season games. It could give them some much needed cap flexibility….

    As far as the running game. While I agree that the talent should be upgraded….I don’t see the end results changing much until the O line starts opening a few holes.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Yeah i would love Montee, NFL is comparing him to Benjarvis Green Ellis but i see him as a future star

  • Kevin Gobleck

    He is next in line after Lebeau so it depends on what happens with him this year but butler is our future DC

  • zyzak

    Says who?

  • Maurice_hill_district

    I think all that is right on.

  • Mike Carroll

    Colbert left things pretty open-ended as you might expect and it remains to be seen how much change actually occurs this offseason. I am glad to hear confirmation they will let every free agent, including K. Lewis, test the market. But, they really had little choice there. They do, however, have choice in regards to terminations, restructures and extensions. I’m still hopeful the team pulls back on deferment of salary cap charges (via contract restructures especially) . I think they reasonably pushed the envelope in that regard the last few years trying to get one more Super Bowl. But, I think they should limit their salary cap deferments this offseason.

    Consider this: the Steelers 2013 salary cap charges stand at $133M (about $12M over the cap), coming off an 8-8 season and a weak wild-card round playoff loss the year before. The Patriots have 2013 salary cap charges of $104M (about $17M under the cap), coming off a season in which they are playing this weekend to advance to their second consecutive Super Bowl.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Yep I had bin thinking 4th round get a decent RB, but now Colbert absolved coaches from any responsibility of our crap running game, so that leaves only the line & RBs as the fault. So now he might draft a RB in 2nd round at the expense of otherwise needing to draft a needed good safety.

  • Garrett Hunt

    The Steelers

  • Maurice_hill_district

    I like Colbert being that tough/critical of players, though he is who had signed those players. He seemed to absolve our offensive coaches of any blame, but I guess he had to.

    But I wuld like to know Colbert’s opinion of what does he think was the biggest cause of so many injuries. Because the unbelievable rash of Steeler injuries this season had to affect him. That gave him more work to do. So what does he think Steelers shuld do to reduce odds of that happening next regular season.

  • grw1960

    I would not be surprised if they Drafted a WR , an OL or TE and 2 RBs in this draft A RB in round 2 or 3 and another RB in round 5 , 6 or 7.
    Plus 3 or 4 picks for the defense.
    Largely depending of course on who they resign.
    I know it won’t happen. But this is a year I would love to see the Steelers trade down in the first round. Not too far down though. Get extra picks ,then trade up in the 2nd or 3d and get two or 3 real quality picks.

  • Chris S

    what about S. Taylor from Stanford?

  • Garrett Hunt

    Yea, I wondered the same thing. That kinda made me see him as over-rated. Seems he should have produced more with that line.

  • JT

    They need weapons for Ben, and a pass rusher. Make it happen Colbert.

  • JT

    I think trading down needs to be considered. There’s no obvious choice for them at 17, and some quality players will be available in the middle rounds.

  • JT

    Isn’t the cap due to increase in the next few years?

  • JT

    You can’t release Troy because there’s nobody there to replace him. You need to draft his replacement this year, not that there is one.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I completely agree about limiting the restructures. They have to restructure Roethlisberger, I’d do Timmons and maybe Brown. Most of the other usual suspects in line for restructuring would need to take pay cuts or have years added on to their contracts or be cut.

  • Mike Carroll

    I’m not sure anyone knows when it actually will increase. I know everyone originally pegged 2014 as the year due to the new TV deal. But, I’ve since seen reports from John Clayton that it could remain flat through 2015.

  • Mike Carroll

    Colbert addressed the injury situation today as well according to this snippet from an AP article I just read:

    Though injuries cost Pittsburgh starters 52 games, which Colbert said
    was 11th-most in the league, he’s not using it as an excuse. He pointed
    out four playoff teams had starters miss more playing time. Pittsburgh’s
    staff will meet on Thursday to evaluate the injury situation to see if
    anything can be done from a preventative standpoint but Colbert knows
    they’re simply a part of the game.

  • LucasY59

    I agree dont push anymore money towards Woodley through restructures untill he plays bettter than he did this season. Roethlisberger, Timmons, and Brown will be around for quite awhile, Woodley could be gone if he doesnt improve.

  • LucasY59

    I would think that the only way they pick Lattimore is if he lasts till the 5 or 6th round he would be a great value there but cant use a higher pick because he is also a great risk

  • Tom

    There better be someone to replace troy….because the chance of him starting 16 games is pretty slim. Resign Will Allen or a lesser name Free Agent. Allen played well enough this year and sure won’t suck up the $$ that Troy does. You have to figure that Troy will be either out or ineffective 50% of the time due to injury.

  • walter mason

    It wasnt long ago everyone was praising Omar Khan but I questioned it. Now look at the mess we are in. We are at a severe disadvantage compared to other teams due to past restructuring for the next several years. I understand we went for broke, all or nothing, but now we have to suffer the consequences. Time to talk pay cuts based on performance instead of restructuring. Restructuring is like borrowing money that needs to be paid back.

  • JT

    No, you can’t figure that. You can’t predict injuries, and there’s no way you know what kind of shape he’ll be in next season. It’s also pretty slim that Ben lasts 16 games based on the last few years. Do they need to dump him too?

    Allen played okay, yes. But then you’re down to 2 playable safeties. What happens Clark or Allen goes down? No amount of money saved is large enough to employ Ryan Mundy.

  • LucasY59

    I hope Ball slides, I think the 4th rd would be the earliest pick the Steelers use on a RB (unless Redman isnt resigned) if they can get Ball or Taylor in the 4th I would be very happy

  • Raymond Mencio

    It’s January, you can’t say that

  • JT

    You can’t not say that. Everything is on the table at this point. That’s one way of looking at it.

  • Garrett Hunt

    I would love to see them draft Lattimore. Potential star player for 3rd round pick maybe. High risk, high reward.

  • LucasY59

    Too high of a risk IMO at least for 3rd rd maybe 5th or 6th

  • Kysteeler

    “We’re not married to anybody,” sounds like someone could be traded.

  • steeltown

    You are probably right, me personally though, if Ball is there by the time they pick in the 3rd Rd, I take him.

  • John Phillips

    “In my mind, when you‘re 8-8, I don‘t think you have too many franchise players,” Colbert said.
    Or a franchise head coach.

  • steeltown

    Agreed

  • steeltown

    Agreed. Most players that I myself covet are late 1st Rd or 2nd Rd grade as we stand here today

  • steeltown

    Would be very happy with that. I think Montee Ball and Taylor are my two favorite picks, of course Lacy is the sexy pick, but I would take Ball or Taylor in a heartbeat

  • steeltown

    Also, I keep going back to Sylvestor, interesting story really, is he really worth tendering, is he worth paying $1.3million in 2013? He really hasnt shown much and hardly played at all in 2012. Plus they brought in Brian Rolle and Kion Wilson

    I think of it this way, if it means we could keep a guy like Starks or Foote by not tendering and ultimately paying Sly $1.3million, then show him the door

  • Mike Carroll

    I think Khan’s role in cap management is somewhat overstated. I realize he handles the details of negotiating and structuring contracts, but ultimately President Rooney and GM Colbert are the guys responsible for providing oversight and direction to what Khan is doing. They are the ones who decided to defer salary cap charges the last several years and Khan has executed the plan. And like you stated, restructuring is like borrowing, much like a credit card. It takes intelligence to execute, but I think Khan has been overly praised at times for his role in it.

  • JohnnyV1

    KC is saying the right things, hopefully his hands aren’t too tied on some b/c of cap ramifications. A shame we couldn’t lock up a guy like CB Lewis before free agency, but it’s worked out before w/ Ryan Clark and others, so we’ll see. I trust in KC.

  • Mike Carroll

    It would be nice if the team could simply cut salaries of underperforming players as a way to get under the salary cap, but negotiated pay cuts simply won’t happen unless the team is willing to actually cut the player. Otherwise, the player has absolutely no reason to come to the negotiating table. So, they might get a pay cut from a player like Harrison near the end of his contract, since they clearly may actually cut him. But, many players at the beginning of their contract, such as Woodley, won’t be cut (or thereby agree to negotiate a pay cut) because the team has deferred too much of their cap money to the end of the contract – the dead money cap hit would be too great. In fact, this exact issue is one of the primary problems with restructuring contracts. Once the team has paid a player up front and deferred huge amounts of cap charges to the end of the contract, then team has virtually no leverage with that specific player. They are very much at their mercy of that player to perform up to standards, because the threat of cutting them is fairly hollow.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Yep.

  • Mike Carroll

    It’s tough because the more they limit restructures, the more they will need to cut players to get under the salary cap. I think it’s very clear Woodley should not be restructured. If it does happen then much of Colbert’s angry talk yesterday should be viewed as nothing but a lot of hot air. As far as the other three guys go, I’d still like to limit the amounts deferred as much as possible. In other words, only convert a portion of their salary to bonus money. I’d prefer to not restructure Ben’s contract at all, but that probably requires cutting someone like Troy and possibly other player(s) with a smaller contract.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    That’d be great. Rarely happens in NFL tho. Odd because in MLB & NBA trades happen routinely/often.

  • Pete

    Woodley would not be denied a restructure based on one poor season. He has been a phenomenal OLB since he was drafted. Steeler Nation is not longsuffering. We also don’t know to what extent his injuries hampered his production. Woodley deserves a pass on the 2012 season. It would be another story altogether if Woodley’s 2013 was a repeat of 2012.

  • steeltown

    Not only that, but when the increase does become reality, there is talk that it will more than likely be smaller increases over multiple years and not one big sudden increase

  • steeltown

    Man, that would be nice, paycuts based on performance.. like with Timmons and Ike earning their paychecks, while Woodley, Harrison, Colon and Polamalu are NOT

  • steeltown

    I would love to not have to restructure any of the normal candidates (especially Woodley) but you know they will.. as you mentioned below, they only other way would be to cut guys like Troy, Harrison and Ike Taylor… which would create a ton of dead money

  • Fu-Schnickens

    Actually, JT, in taking a look at his last several years and the steady downward trend in downs played per year he’s clearly susceptible, due mainly to his style of play (which won’t change), to injury and ongoing, lingering injury to boot. In addition, the guy is a guy who works hard in the offseason to get into shape, and he still gets hurt. Add to this, that he’s already had how many concussions?!?! It comes with the package with this guy.

  • Garrett Hunt

    4th would be a steal

  • LucasY59

    He probably wont be able to practice let alone play before the season starts, dont see him playing much as he will be sidelined instead of learning the NFL game all offseason and preseason like most rookies need. I think he is a great RB could be the best in this years draft but cant use a 3rd or 4th pick on a player that cant play this year.

  • Garrett Hunt

    His value does not lie in this year. The Steelers always use the draft for future starters not just immediate need. If he is there in the 4th when the Steelers pick, I would be SHOCKED if he didn’t get picked there baring any setbacks to his knee.

  • Mike Carroll

    It’s more than one season we are talking about here. His hamstring was injured in Week 8 of the 2011 season vs New England. In the last 25 games since then, Woodley has recorded 4 sacks. He has re-injured the hamstring at least twice since the original injury by my count. The bottom line is, the Steelers need LaMarr to show them he can be the same player he was before the original injury (as opposed to hoping for it). If they restructure his contract again this offseason and Woodley fails to return to form, the team will then be dealing with a nightmare contract (besides the fact they would have badly overpaid on the first three years of the deal).

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