Outgoing Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert leaves behind an impressive legacy.

He helped build rosters of three AFC champions, two of whom won the Super Bowl. The Steelers have won 226 regular season games under his leadership, 15 more in the playoffs.

Not to mention drafting Pro Bowlers such as Casey Hampton, Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Lawrence Timmons, Maurkice Pouncey, Cameron Heyward, David DeCastro, Ryan Shazier, TJ Watt and Najee Harris.

And these are just the first.

Colbert knows that with Pittsburgh’s level of expectation for his NFL team, it will be a difficult task for his successor.

“Hopefully whoever’s in there understands that and takes more of it.” They go further and see what they can do too,” Colbert said Monday on WDVE.

“I will be there to support that person and help them understand that it’s a little different here.”

Largely because of all that success, Colbert was able to come out on his terms after 22 years. But in the modern NFL, even someone with that kind of background can’t retire without leaving a few questions behind.

So here are some of the biggest challenges – both immediate and long-term – facing the person who will soon be sitting in Colbert’s chair… if Colbert doesn’t resolve some of the issues before that candidate is hired.

Rationalization of the quarterback situation

Obviously, coach Mike Tomlin will have a heavy hand in this decision-making process.

But it doesn’t seem very logical to have Mason Rudolph or Mitch Trubisky as the third quarterback for game days. It may be seventh-round pick Chris Oladokun. Maybe Kenny Pickett can play that role early in his rookie season. But the former Panther was not drafted No. 20 overall to be a 24-year-old replacement.

To avoid quarterback encumbrance and maybe get an asset in return, it would make sense to move either Trubisky or Rudolph.

Making contract decisions on Diontae Johnson and Minkah Fitzpatrick

Johnson is part of that talented class of 2019 wide receivers that is making financial noise and resetting the market at this position.

When resetting lists, too.

It would be nice if the Steelers could fashion a reasonable extension for Johnson before the start of the fourth and final year of his rookie contract this fall.

However, if Johnson’s eyes went wide seeing the kind of money Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs got, I don’t consider that reasonable.

Colbert left his successor with two intriguing 2022 draft picks (George Pickens, Calvin Austin III) at receiver. Chase Claypool too. So perhaps the new front office will be less obligated to meet a potentially ridiculous asking price by Johnson.

But it’s still going to be a tricky situation to navigate.

Fitzpatrick should be clearer. Dear. But more direct. Unless the next guy after Colbert doesn’t see the same value in the safe position — or in Fitzpatrick playing it — as Colbert and Tomlin.

Strengthen the online game

Speaking of succession plans, there is another on the defensive line.

The first step is to decide – or get a decision from – Stephon Tuitt on whether he can (or wants to) return to football in 2022.

But even if that happens, Tuitt will turn 29 later this month. Chris Wormley also does it in October. Cameron Heyward (32) and Tyson Alualu (34) are the two oldest players on the team. Tuitt has four voidable years on his contract after this season. Alualu is an unrestricted free agent. So is Wormley.

Third-round draft pick DeMarvin Leal appears to be a bit of a “tweener,” but has plenty of talent. Beyond him, however, all this unity must be reinforced by the youth over the next few years.

Offensively, Colbert leaves mid-rebuild as Dan Moore, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green and Chuks Okorafor could start a second year together as starters. Former Chicago Bear James Daniels should be a welcome addition to the right guard.

The new recruit will have to decide if these new pieces are fundamental building blocks or just temporary placeholders in the post-Pouncey-DeCastro-Ramon Foster-Alejandro Villanueva era.

Finally replacing Ryan Shazier

Twice. Because the “other” inside linebacker besides Shazier is also a revolving door.

Acquiring Myles Jack in free agency could be a start. But before him, Mark Barron, Avery Williamson, Robert Spillane, Jon Bostic and Joe Schobert weren’t good enough.

Neither did former first-round pick Devin Bush. Colbert has already decided to decline Bush’s fifth-year option. The next GM will have to determine if Bush has enough of a bounce-back season in 2022 that he deserves to keep in free agency like the 2018 first-rounder Terrell Edmunds ultimately proved to be.

At a very reduced price.

The Steelers Way

These are all specific and individual tricks.

Overall, Colbert’s replacement will also have to determine whether the franchise is better served by continuing to do business the same way Colbert, Tomlin and Bill Cowher used to do.

Will all of these tried and true stalwarts of Steelers business continue?

• No contract extension talks once the season has started.

• Minimize guaranteed money on new contracts.

• Achieve ceilings by restructuring contracts and eliminating risk.

• Try to find low-cost mid-term draft pick starters at high-value positions such as offensive tackle and cornerback.

• Keep building through the draft as much as possible. Continue to use free agency and trades as additional tools instead of costly attempts at quick improvement, as the Los Angeles Rams have proven possible.

In his later years, Colbert seemed to back down on some of these concepts on several occasions. Whether it’s TJ Watt’s huge extension or trading for Fitzpatrick and Schobert.

If the new recruit comes from outside the organization, we’ll see exactly how critical he thinks those business values ​​are to the Steelers’ success.

Tim Benz is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise specified.