Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has come under fire the past couple offseasons. As the Steelers sit at 1-4 so far, following an 8-8 campaign in 2012, that’s pretty much par for the course.
But past failed drafts aside, maybe Colbert deserves a little bit of credit for a couple of tough decisions during the offseason, most notably those involving former Steelers James Harrison and Mike Wallace.
Many Steelers fans were upset when Colbert and the Steelers front office allowed Harrison to walk and ultimately sign with the Cincinnati Bengals, however the Steelers have the knack for knowing when a player is past his prime and they appear to have made the correct call once again with Harrison.
The former Defensive Player of the Year has only played in 31 percent of the Bengals snaps this season, including only being on the field for 25 of 133 snaps the past two weeks.
On the season Harrison has recorded only nine total tackles and one sack. Yes it’s a different system than the 3-4 scheme he was accustomed to playing while in black-and-gold, but the Steelers, despite their problems defensively, have gotten by just fine without Harrison being around.
Then there’s Wallace, who left for big money with the Miami Dolphins.
Miami isn’t seeing much of a return on that big money deal as Wallace has hauled in only 22 passes on the year for 281 yards and a touchdown.
Two years ago I thought it was the wrong move giving the money to Antonio Brown instead of Wallace, but Brown is proving the doubters wrong. Through five games, Brown is tied for second in the NFL with 41 catches and ranks seventh in the league with 498 receiving yards.
Wallace is still in his prime and he would likely have more value to this Steelers team with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback than he currently does in Miami with Ryan Tannehill under center, but the fact remains that the Steelers seem to be getting by without his production.
There’s a lot that Colbert should come under criticism for the past couple of seasons and most of the heat he gets is probably well deserved.
But not in the case of deciding which veteran free agents to keep or let go.
In the case of Harrison and Wallace, it looks as if he made the right decisions once again.