In 2000, the Pittsburgh Steelers acquired some new brass in GM Kevin Colbert. Clearly influenced by the negative impact of two losing seasons from '98-99, the Rooneys recognized the need for change, and who can honestly believe that the resulting free agent signings haven't been mostly positive?
During Colbert's tenure as the general manager, the Black and Gold have enjoyed the second championship era in team history, not only winning the elusive "One for the Thumb" that seemed so slippery throughout the '90s, but also winning a sixth championship to start the ring count of the other hand.
Certainly, that's not a coincidence.
In his stead, all-time great Steelers legends have come via free agency, such as James Farrior.
And, inevitably, a few clunkers have also "graced" the Pittsburgh sideline. How many Sean Mahan haters still breathe fire every time they hear the lackluster center's name?
As with any team, there's a mix of good and bad, but the returns speak well for Colbert in the ultimate gamble that is NFL roster building.
Without further adieu, here are the five best free agent signings since the start of the new millennium, otherwise known as the "Colbert Era." Please note that the list is focused on acquisitions made prior to the start of the respective NFL season, opposed to midseason acquisitions like Chad Brown (2006).
(Click here to see a countdown of the worst signings.)