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Omar Khan has done a superb job to date, but still has plenty to prove

The Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager has been impressive, but still has to prove a lot.

NFL: New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of their offseason preparation, and the fan base is anxiously awaiting what the next step in the process will be for their beloved black-and-gold. For decades, fans knew what to expect with Kevin Colbert as the team’s General Manager (GM). Not a lot of trades, build through the draft and make wise decisions in free agency.

For the most part, this theory worked well. But when Colbert decided to call it a career after the 2022 NFL Draft, the unknown became a reality when the team started their search for their next GM. After weeks of interviews, and second interviews, the team finally settled on an in-house candidate. None other than salary cap guru Omar Khan.

Khan has done an admirable job since taking over for Colbert. It was Khan who gave wise, and fiscally smart, contracts to players like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Chris Boswell and Diontae Johnson.

It was also Khan who made the decision to bring in defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi to help fortify the Steelers’ defensive front after the retirement of Stephon Tuitt.

By far Khan’s best work of art, to date, was the Chase Claypool trade with the Chicago Bears. The Bears didn’t just send a 2nd Round pick to the Steelers for Claypool, but their original pick. The Bears had received a 2nd Round pick from the Baltimore Ravens in the Roquan Smith trade. Khan didn’t take the Ravens’ pick, he got the Bears’ original selection.

Fast forward to the end of the season, and the Bears had lost enough games to have the top overall draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. This means the Steelers possess the top pick in the 2nd Round (pick No. 32) and three picks in the Top 50 of the draft.

If fans are looking for a reason to bemoan Khan’s work to-date, they’ll probably point to the contract given to Diontae Johnson. While that carries validity, Khan has done more good than bad in his brief stint as the GM of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The fact of the matter is Khan still hasn’t fully proven himself as a GM yet. That won’t come until he is the man in charge for his first stint in free agency, with the legal tampering period beginning on March 13th, and of course his first even NFL Draft with him calling the shots.

That is the next, and last, test for Khan to pass before fans can sit back and wonder if the organization won’t skip a beat with Khan at the helm. But many questions remain.

What kind of influence will Andy Weidl have on the decisions which will be made?

Weidl has been a part of the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles before coming back to western Pennsylvania. Both of those franchises are known for their dominance in the trenches, will this continue with the Steelers?

How much say did Khan have with Colbert at the helm?

Colbert and Khan worked together for the majority of Colbert’s tenure in Pittsburgh, but it is unknown how much say/influence Khan had on the decision making process. Will this all be new for him? Was he a part of those draft meetings and in the war room on draft night?

Will Khan be different?

For a long time fans would always talk about draft day trades, only to have the reoccurring thought that Colbert doesn’t like to trade his picks away. It would stop all conversation dead in its tracks, but will it with Khan at the helm? So far, Khan has shown a willingness to do things differently, and I ask myself if Colbert would have traded Claypool, one of his draft picks, if he were still GM.

Add all this up and you get a new GM who is still learning on the job. There is no alternative in this regard, considering learning on the job is the only way of actually gaining the necessary experience to become one of the game’s top GMs. In the meantime, while Khan has been impressive in his short tenure, he still has a lot to prove.

This was the topic on my Monday episode of the “Let’s Ride” podcast. Check it out in the player below: