View Full Version : The plot thickens.....

01-05-2007, 10:48 AM
Bill Cowher is resigning today ... and now things get interesting. The Steelers will be looking for a new head coach and there's speculation that Cowher might be more interested in a big payday than watching women's amateur basketball. Ryan Wilson has some thoughts.

"They gave up WHAT to get you?"

Yesterday, in a very interesting post, ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio speculated about Bill Cowher's future. Also, it looks like today's the day Cowher resigns his head coaching gig with the Steelers and catches up on all the women's college and high school basketball he's missed the last five years or so... Or, now that Nick Saban's Alabama's new head coach, maybe Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga will throw enough cash Cowher's way to convince him to relocate to Miami. I know, that's not very likely since Cowher's "expected to stay out of coaching in 2007", just hear me out. At the very least it'll be a nice little thought experiment to take your mind off Cowher retiring.
From Thursday's Miami Herald:

The Dolphins will now start gauging their interest in candidates in earnest. The Steelers, Cowher and his agent might be among the first they contact. If Pittsburgh grants the Dolphins permission to speak with its coach, a person close to Cowher said Wednesday he would be willing to listen...
There are obstacles to Cowher joining the Dolphins. He reportedly wants a contract extension in Pittsburgh that would pay in excess of $7 million annually; the Steelers offered $6 million. And the Steelers would demand draft-choice compensation in return for releasing him from his contract.

The Dolphins also would have to gauge Cowher's personal situation to see if he indeed is willing to take on a job long-term basis rather than for a two- to five-year spurt. But the obstacles are not insurmountable if Cowher is receptive. Huizenga has deep pockets and said Wednesday that he badly wants his team to win. ''I don't care what it takes, what it costs, or what's involved,'' he said.

It's the last sentence that gives me pause. Whenever anyone says it's not about the money, more times than not, it's about the money.
Whatever happens, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be fine. If Cowher wants to retire to spend more time with his family, I'm all for it. If Cowher wants to retire to clear brush off his new property, more power to him. If Cowher wants to retire to update his languishing porn collection then I say, "Yay Bill!" And even if Cowher wants to get out of his current deal to become the highest paid coach in the NFL somewhere else, then all the better. This still is America, right? Land of opportunity, capitalism, free enterprise and all that crap?

I can't think of too many lines of work that are more competitive than professional football coach. After a hall-of-fame 15-year career in Pittsburgh, where Cowher spent virtually all his energy competing to field the best team in the NFL, why wouldn't he also want to be the highest (or one of the highest) paid coach in the league? If it's about competition, this makes sense. Here's what I wrote last summer:

Look, I'm not saying that Cowher should make $7 million a season I don't think there are many people, in any profession, who are worth that much but if we're talking a performance-based deal, then he should be one of the highest paid coaches in the league. To say that he should be content with a middling contract because he's in a great sports town with great fans is nave. Even on a deal paying substantially less than $7 million a season I don't think Cowher will go Latrell Sprewell and claim he can't feed his family, but that's kinda missing the point. If you're one of the best at what you do, why shouldn't you be compensated accordingly?
And my thoughts haven't changed. I've made it nauseatingly clear that I'm a Cowher fan, but if the Rooney's don't want to spend their money to keep him around, well, that's fine by me. History suggests they know what their doing when it comes to evaluating talent on a per dollar basis. Plus, it's not like Cowher's infallible. He did, single-handedly, lose the first Bengals game this season. And he's had similar brain farts in the past.
For me, the biggest question won't be how will the Steelers replace Cowher's tactical skills (he's never been accused of possessing Norman Einstein-like brain power), but his aptitude for motivating players. It's pretty impressive that after 15 years his team still responds to him in the way they do. Look around the league and there are numerous examples of coaches not relating well to their players. And most of these teams are perennially drafting top-10 picks.

With all of this in mind, I wonder how proficient Ken Whisenhunt might be at motivating the troops. I have no doubt that he really knows football, but so do a lot of other guys who have since been canned as NFL head coaches. Since Whisenhunt wisely turned down the Oakland career-killing head coaching job last off-season, I was pretty much convinced he was the heir apparent in Pittsburgh. Russ Grimm was always in the conversation but I had a hunch that head-to-head Whisenhunt would get the nod. I still like Whisenhunt for the job, but in the back of my mind, I wonder if Grimm is better suited to fill Cowher's role as hard-*** while delegating the X's and O's minutiae to the coordinators. Just something to think about when not thinking about all the other Steelers-related stuff about to go down in the next few weeks and months.

Returning to Florio's post, if you're willing to concede that Cowher-to-Miami has a probability greater than zero (and frankly, if it's not zero, it's pretty close but just indulge me), then you'll be happy to know this:

The Dolphins would be required to compensate the Steelers if Cowher becomes the coach in Miami. To get Jon Gruden from the Raiders five years ago, the Bucs gave up two first-round picks and two second-rounders and $8 million.
You had me at "two first-round picks." Think about that for a minute. The Bucs gave up two firsts and two seconds and eight million bucks to hire Gruden away from the Raiders. Yikes. In retrospect, I wonder if Tampa Bay's owner, Malcolm Glazer, thinks a 2002 Super Bowl followed by mostly mediocre football was worth all he gave up to get Gruden. I could see both sides to this argument, but I'm legitimately interested in what Glazer thinks after five years.
If the Dolphins offered the Steelers a similar deal, it's a no-brainer. You have to pull the trigger on this one. It's like found money. Plus, with Pittsburgh having plenty of draft needs, it would be like Christmas in April on the South Side.

For giggles, let's assume Miami signs Cowher to a billion-dollar deal, and the Steelers are the beneficiaries of two first-rounders and two second-rounders, one each this year, and one each next year. According to the 2007 draft order, that means the Steelers would pick ninth and 15th overall. With their newfound riches -- and depending on what need they valued most -- the Steelers could do any number of things:

Draft an offensive tackle with the 9th pick and defensive end/linebacker at 15;
Package some picks and trade down (I seem to remember that working out pretty well with the Anthony Smith deal);
Package some picks and trade up (I seem to remember that working out pretty well with the Santonio Holmes deal).
Let's say Pittsburgh decided to trade up. Consulting the handy trade value chart, a 9th (1,350) and a 15th (1,050) total 2,400 points. That's between the second (2,600) and third (2,200) pick. As long as we're fantasizing, let's fast forward to the 2007 draft weekend:
With the second pick of the 2007 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select ... tackle Joe Thomas, Wisconsin.

Okay, who's not psyched by the idea of grabbing Thomas? But it gets better: Pittsburgh still has two second-rounders to address other needs early on Day 1 and the team still has the Dolphins' first- and second-round picks in 2008. How is this not a good idea?

Okay, breathe. You're getting a little way ahead of yourself here.

I know, I know, it's baseless speculation at this stage and as I write this Cowher's still the coach for a few more hours. Not only that, but a lot has to happen for anything close to this little scenario I've painted to play out. It would be almost as improbable as, say, winning four straight regular season games to make the postseason, then winning three consecutive road playoff games, all before winning the Super Bowl. Almost.

By Ryan Wilson
Posted Jan 5, 2007

I know some of this might sound a little far fetched BUT what if? Cowher still has a year on his contract and if he is looking for a big payday....who knows??

House of Steel
01-05-2007, 10:56 AM
I see both sides of this arguement. I guess it does make the picture a whole lot more clearer. Very tempting too to grab compensation draft picks to let Cowher go to Miami to coach. You know what, absolutely right Christmas in April and you can darn well see how fast we could rebuild this team and get Championship flying like never before. It would be a very, very tempting ordeal. On the other hand, Cowher going to Miami, you don't think that is possible that he would be willing to pull a trigger on that, but then you have to think also, Cowher wants that money so then, it make sense. I am getting a migrane from all this epic anyhow. Argh!!!

01-05-2007, 11:37 AM
If Cowher does run to Miami for the money then I might lose respect for the guy! I wouldn't mind the draft picks and what not because the Steelers could do some damage in the draft with the extra picks, but to leave a perfectly good situation in Pittsburgh for a little extra cash after saying you wanted to spend time with your family :smh:

01-05-2007, 11:37 AM
I'm with ya HOS!! I have a headache too!! I mean you can't really blame Cowher if he would want the money, I mean after 15 years at an ok salary, now he's being offered basically whatever he wants and I'm sure Miami wouldn't be the only team offering him big money but to be the highest paid coach in the NFL?? Come on...no brainer!! To me that's quite flattering that they think so highly of Cowher (which i do) but why don't the Rooney's see his dedication and talent and offer him more to stay. I understand they want to keep a grounded organization and not go nuts as other teams do and then they overpay for coaches, players etc and knock themselves in a hole for nothing...i.e. Tampa Bay and Gruden!! but Bill deserves at some more money, come on!!!
On the other hand, I would miss him terribly in Pittsburgh and it would actually break my heart to see him coaching another team. I'm having a hard time imaging this team without him, I just can't help it. Chuck Noll was a great coach but I feel more emotion toward Cowher and it really hurts to see him go....

01-05-2007, 12:58 PM
PFT is a joke, don't believe anything they say !! Bill will step down and relax for a year till his contract for 2007 runs out.

01-05-2007, 02:58 PM
PFT is a joke, don't believe anything they say !! Bill will step down and relax for a year till his contract for 2007 runs out.

I would not go that far TG. They said Saban was going to Bama back in November. While most of there stuff is trash. They do get a nugget once in a while.

01-05-2007, 03:48 PM
Well ok, every dog gets a bone now and then, I'll give ya that. Anything they about BC possibly going to coach anywhere is this year is a bunch of shiate :yesnod:

01-05-2007, 03:51 PM
PFT is a joke, don't believe anything they say !! Bill will step down and relax for a year till his contract for 2007 runs out.

i would agree with you, most things PFT reports on turns out wrong. BUT they do a great job in dealing with coaching rumors. hell they called the saban thing in october.

01-05-2007, 06:20 PM
The more I think about that, Everybody called the Saban deal, that's nothing to be write home about. The guy has said all along that his dream job was to coach 'bama. Everyone knows Saban's track record of double talk and breaking contracts for what he thinks are greener pastures. The 2nd anybody realized that the bama job might come open, he was a front runner.

01-05-2007, 07:48 PM
Hey Top.....this guy usually posts good articles that I find pretty interesting. He was just offering another viewpoint on all the whatifs that have been floating around on what was going on with Cowher. I know people were on the edge of their seats hoping, wishing that Cowher would stay but thats all that was...wishful thinking. I've got a lot of respect for Cowher and the Rooneys, the way they've handled the Steeler organization and everything that comes with dealing with the NFL. No way was this article trying to insinuate that Cowher was going to leave for bigger money it was just something else to think about.....:helmet:

01-05-2007, 08:43 PM
Ive just learned over time not to trust anything that PFT says because the majority of the time they are way off :lol:

Yes it is an idea that's been brought up all over the media in the last week or so, but I think most who know the team and our coach knew he wasnt going to leave and try to coach somewhere else right away ;)