It’s the slow time of the offseason, OTA’s and mini camps are over and many players have scattered until training camp begins on July 25th. Among all the dissecting of potential offensive philosophies, player personnel, defensive schemes, and what not, one of the hottest topics at this time of year is contracts. Every Steeler fans knows that you don’t often see new deals being signed in May or June but rather July and August is always the hot time for extensions and big money signings.
We’ve had our fill, and then some, with all the Wallace talk but Ron Cook wrote a piece today talking about the status of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and his contract situation. Immediately we all saw the social media go crazy with how the Steelers might not renew Tomlin’s deal. Many were up in arms talking about how the Steelers have to renew, and then were some that were ok with whatever happens. No coach is perfect, not even a Steelers coach, but most feel that MT has his hand firmly on the pulse of the black ‘n gold. We see more and more each season, his mark being put on this team and now more than ever his players are beginning to step and will need to continue to do so.
Cook writes: When it comes to contract talks with the Pittsburgh Steelers, all the talk focuses on wide receiver Mike Wallace. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook suggests another priority — coach Mike Tomlin.
He is signed through this season with a team option for the 2013 season, according to the Steelers’ official website.
“It seems likely there will be an announcement — quietly, of course, with no fanfare — of an extension for Tomlin before camp,” Cook wrote. “But if it doesn’t happen before the start of the season in September, it will be reason for great concern. Bill Cowher led the Steelers to a win in Super Bowl XL after the 2005 season but didn’t get an extension that offseason when he had two years left on his contract. After coaching the team in ’06, he was gone. What a shame it would be if Tomlin left.”
Hensley’s slant: Tomlin deserves an extension and should continue to rank among the highest-paid coaches in sports. He’s currently eighth with an annual salary of $5.8 million. He is only one of seven coaches in league history to win a Super Bowl in his first two seasons as an NFL head coach and became only the sixth to win at least nine games in each of his first five seasons since the 1970 merger. (George Seifert, Mike Holmgren, Bill Cowher, Chuck Knox and Mike Sherman were the others.)
It doesn’t appear that Cook is overly concerned about the contract status at this point, but he does state that if a deal isn’t done before the 2012 season starts, perhaps there should be cause for concern.
I would say, even at that point we shouldn’t worry too much. The club has the option for 2013 so it’s not like he’s going anywhere if he doesn’t get a new deal right away. They don’t make these things public until they have too, so when the deal does get done they’ll just announce it and move on with life. Worrying about Tomlin’s contract should be the last thing on our minds heading into this season and knowing Tomlin, he’s not worried about it either.
The Rooney’s don’t just hire coaches for the sake of having a big name, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin are testament to that. Both were assistant coaches with no previous head coach experience at the professional level before coming to Pittsburgh. They have faith in Tomlin and won’t just yank the turf out from under him this soon into his career. Two Super Bowl appearances with a team that was still filled with former players he didn’t draft says as much about his ability to adapt as much as anything. The Steelers didn’t become super bowl champions over night and they won’t be rebuilt overnight. Rebuilt may not be the best choice of words but in a way it’s true. Old faces are being replaced with young, fast, talent all still in the Steeler tradition. That’s as much Mike Tomlin as it is just following the tradition of what the team is all about.
Now he’s got a team full of his own draft picks, a crop of potential great young talent for him to mold, and a team firmly under his control with the backing of team management. It’s a fresh start with Todd Haley running the offense and the sky is the limit.