Back in March I wrote an article about how the Steelers seemingly have some sort of short term plan (Do the Steelers have a two year plan?). Nothing the team has done recently has changed my thoughts on this. In fact, there is more evidence than ever that this team has set a drop dead date of 2021 to win a Super Bowl. The only significant player signed beyond that year is Stephon Tuitt. Every free agent signed, or extension given is up by 2021. That includes the head coach and general manager.
With all this in mind, it’s a little easier to understand why a conservative general manager like Kevin Colbert would suddenly become aggressive. Why else would Colbert trade a first round pick for the first time in his near twenty year reign, on a team that hasn’t done in nearly fifty years? The duo of Tomlin and Colbert are determined to go out with a bang. Determined to win one more Super Bowl with Ben Roetlisberger before the three ride off into the sunset.
Sounds great right? There’s only one small problem though. Luck and fate do not seem to be cooperating with the Steelers grand plan. It started with Le’Veon Bell going AWOL. Got even worse when Antonio Brown went completely insane and forced a trade. Now it all has completely cratered with Ben Roethlisberger missing essentially the entire season. You would think at this point it would be time to pivot off this plan. Start to plan for the next version of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not this group. They continue to push on despite all the evidence that they shouldn’t. Kevin Colbert has turned into a wheeler and dealer the likes of which this franchise has never seen. The team continues to trade draft picks to fill holes like a Super Bowl contender, accept they’re not.
None of these trades in a vacuum are bad. Minkah Fitzpatrick is just the kind of player that might have pushed this team over the top……..if Big Ben were still healthy. Trading a fifth round pick for Nick Vannett to keep the team afloat until Vance McDonald gets healthy is a great move…….on a playoff contender. It seems almost to the point of being irresponsible for Colbert to continue to trade draft capital on a lost season. Why not just sign Luke Wilson like the Seahawks did and keep your pick? There is a scenario where this plan works out and Colbert and company look like they knew what they were doing all along. Ben Roethlisberger returning next season like he never missed a beat, Keith Butler finally figures out how to use all this defensive talent properly, and the offense begins to click without Bell and Brown. All that seems overly optimistic given everything else that has gone wrong with this plan up to now. For Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin it won’t much matter if this plan fails. It will be up to a new regime to clean up the mess because neither will be around if this the plan falls apart. Maybe thats the biggest problem for this team after all.