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Steelers’ search for new GM may not be conventional

The Pittsburgh Steelers are entering an offseason where they are experiencing more turnover than usual. Just watch the changes that will take place:

  • New defensive coordinator
  • New outside linebackers coach
  • New offensive line coach
  • New quarterback
  • Several other key free agents
  • New General Manager

On that last point, many fans are wondering what the search for a new GM will look like. It’s already been revealed how Kevin Colbert will stay with the Steelers through the 2022 NFL Draft, but what will the process look like to bring in the next general manager?

During a media availability last week, team president Art Rooney II shed some light on what that process will look like to find the next general manager, whether internally or not.

“Kevin will fulfill his normal role during this year’s draft. I don’t see it as essential that we have someone on board before the draft, although we will do some interviews before the draft. But more than likely, we will fill the position after the draft.

Yes, you read that right. The Steelers do not plan to name the next general manager before the draft. Rather, they will allow Colbert to do his usual job and then hand over the reins to the next GM.

One thing that stands out from Rooney’s comments is how the organization might consider keeping Colbert on board in an advisory role, even after the new chief executive is hired. Not unusual for NFL teams, the Baltimore Ravens did the exact same thing when Ozzie Newsome quit, but helped Eric DeCosta settle in before taking over completely.

“We’ve left the door open, Kevin and I, for him to potentially move into a permanent role after the draft, but we’ll be looking for a new GM right now and probably won’t hire until after the draft. Rooney said. “We’re going to be interviewing people, and we’ve already interviewed two of our internal candidates, Omar Khan and Brandon Hunt.”

Hunt and Khan were long considered favorites for the GM job once Colbert decided he was done, and it will be interesting to see how the Steelers fulfill that role, should they choose one of the candidates. aforementioned. However, despite what conventional thinking/wisdom would say, it looks like the Steelers are simply going to take a wait-and-see approach for their next GM after the draft, rather than naming the next GM as the ‘GM-in-waiting’.

Whether the job goes to Hunt or Khan, or potentially someone outside the organization, will depend on the team’s expectations of its chief executive. They do things differently in Pittsburgh than other NFL teams, and they don’t expect that to change.

“A CEO has a lot of responsibilities these days,” Rooney said, “and we’ll hire someone who can handle all of those responsibilities, number 1 of which includes being a talent assessor and setting up our project and all that goes with working as a general manager in the NFL today. That said, we’re looking for someone who fits our structure and culture. We’re not really looking at changing our own structure here.

If you’re not sure what sets the Steelers general manager’s position apart from others, Bob Labriola of Steelers.com explains:

What Rooney was referring to is that some teams have a general manager who is responsible for hiring and firing the head coach, who has full control of the roster, who makes the final decision on each draft pick. That’s not how the Steelers operate. Although Colbert was involved in the process that replaced Bill Cowher after the 2006 season, it wasn’t his decision alone. Colbert is certainly very influential as a talent evaluator, but the decisions made during the draft are not his own. The 2019 trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick who sent the Dolphins’ No. 1 pick to the Steelers in the 2020 NFL Draft had to be approved by Rooney. That’s how the Steelers have always operated, even back when the head of player personnel was the owner’s son.

So, all of that said, it’s safe to say that the Steelers’ search for their next GM will be unconventional. It probably won’t be made as public as other teams do their GM research, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although unconventional, Rooney’s eventual choice to replace Colbert will be something to watch as the offseason progresses, primarily after the 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest Steelers news and notes as they prepare for a very exciting offseason.