Priority for Steelers should be to extend Tomlin's contract
Priority for Steelers should be to extend Tomlin's contract
June 19, 2012
There has been much angst about Mike Wallace's future with the Steelers. Will he sign his one-year tender for $2,742,000 and report to training camp next month? Will he hold out and continue to try to negotiate a long-term contract? Will he be a disgruntled, disruptive player all season if he ends up having to sign the tender?
All are fair questions.
The angst is legitimate, although the belief here is that Wallace will report to Latrobe on time. He has no other option. He also will have a great season, either because of his peace of mind with a new multi-year contract or because he is smart enough to realize he has to have a great season to get the big money next year as an unrestricted free agent.
But Wallace isn't the most significant man the Steelers need to re-sign this summer.
That would be coach Mike Tomlin.
Keeping Tomlin for the long haul is much more important to the team's future.
According to Steelers.com, Tomlin is signed through this season with a club option for 2013. Traditionally, this is the time when the team does a new deal with the coach. It seems likely there will be an announcement -- quietly, of course, with no fanfare -- of an extension for Tomlin before camp. 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.
The Steelers and Tomlin belong together. The Rooneys love continuity with their coach. That's why they stuck with Cowher for 15 seasons and Chuck Noll for 23 seasons, even through hard times. Tomlin has done a fabulous job for the franchise in his first five seasons, leading the team to two Super Bowls, including a win in Super Bowl XLIII. Yes, the Steelers were Tebowed by the Denver Broncos as heavy favorites in the first round of the playoffs last season, but that sort of thing happens to the best of teams and coaches occasionally. Tomlin still deserves an extension with a big pay raise, based on his body of work. But it's a two-way street. Tomlin has to realize he's working for the best, most stable, most understanding owners in sports. He should want to do a new deal and stay here for a long time. Here's hoping that's exactly what happens.
There's just one thing that could end this happy marriage ...
No, not Todd Haley.
The way the Steelers handled their change of offensive coordinators this offseason was filled with intrigue. Bruce Arians was forced out by president Art Rooney II against Tomlin's wishes. Tomlin said it was his decision to hire Haley for the job. There's no reason not to believe him. By all accounts, Haley has worked hard to earn the trust of Tomlin, the other coaches and the players. Everyone seems excited about the new offense's potential. Even Ben Roethlisberger has gone days without complaining about its complexities.
Tomlin couldn't have liked the way Rooney stepped in to ditch Arians, but you know what they say about the boss. He's the boss for a reason. You have to live with that fact, no matter how much you might hate it at times. Certainly, in this case, it's not a reason for Tomlin to give up what many consider to be the best coaching job in sports.
That might be a different story.
The top NFL coaches are making a fortune these days. New England's Bill Belichick heads the list at $7.5 million per season, according to the May issue of Forbes Magazine. That's as it should be. Belichick has led the Patriots to wins in three Super Bowls and losses in two others.
The New York Giants' Tom Coughlin approached Belichick money when he signed a new three-year contract earlier this month. That, too, is deserved. The Giants won Super Bowl XLVI in February, their second championship under Coughlin.
Tomlin, who is making $5.75 million a year, according to Forbes Magazine, deserves to be on the next tier of coaches. Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins, Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks each make $7 million per year, the magazine reported. Shouldn't Tomlin be allowed in that very exclusive neighborhood? He's that good at what he does.
It will be interesting to see if the Rooneys pay that much for a coach. It's believed they didn't meet Cowher's price after that 2005 Super Bowl season, even though his exit was said to be for family reasons. He still might be coaching here if the team had stepped up to pay him.
As for Tomlin?
Letting him get away simply can't be an option.
Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin All But Assured of Extension
by Neal Coolong on Jun 19, 2012
Post Gazette columnist Ron Cook gives us a bit of Chicken Little in his recent piece regarding Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's contract situation.
Per Steelers.com, Tomlin is signed through this season with a club option for 2013.
Loosely translated, the "club option" means the team can remove Tomlin after this season if they choose. Cook's point is mostly to point out what a shame it would be if the Steelers let Tomlin go.
It's also exactly why the San Diego Padres have a better chance of winning next year's Stanley Cup than Tomlin moving on next season.
Cook points out it's likely Tomlin will get an extension around training camp, likely without his own personal announcement via Twitter or Facebook or whatever relevant social media outlet he enjoys (if any). The correlation between Tomlin and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher will probably never fully go away, and the fact Cowher entered the 2006 season without having signed an extension is worthy of mention here. However, since 2007, only two other coaches have won two conference championship games - Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Coughlin received an extension earlier this month, and Belichick's last extension was done in 2007, keeping him in place through 2013.
Tomlin's last extension came in 2010, a two year extension of his previous deal, and since teams rarely have coaches work into the final year of their contract, expect an extension in the near future. With Coughlin's deal reportedly worth somewhere in the ballpark of $20 million over three seasons, Tomlin's deal should be around that mark.
Tomlin replaced Cowher in 2007 after serving as the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. He's 31-17 in the regular season and 6-3 in the playoffs. That mark includes 2-0 in the AFC Championship and 1-1 in the Super Bowl.
This season is looked upon as "Tomlin's" team in many ways. The nucleus of players who were drafted and arrived in Pittsburgh via free agency under Cowher are mostly gone now, and his first few noted drafted players - LBs Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, DE Ziggy Hood and C Maurkice Pouncey are looked upon as savvy veterans now.
Tomlin shed the trend of Steelers teams dipping off the season after reaching the Super Bowl with a 12-4 mark last year, but a first-round playoff loss at Denver left many dissatisfied with the year as a whole. This year's team appears just as strong as any have been in Tomlin's regime, and looks on the brink of contention in the AFC.
Tomlin isn't going anywhere. The Rooney's realize they have one of the best coaches in the league.
Who would they get anyway if Tomlin left. Losers like Whisenhunt or Grimm
We could give him Mike Wallace's $2.7M on top of his current salary and deal done!!!!!
I mean so many people are worried about "fair" and isn't it "fair" that money go to someone who is actually here trying to help the team be successful?
Steelers value loyalty, stability, which is why it's time to extend Tomlin
By Len Pasquarelli | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
July 10, 2012
PITTSBURGH -- The notion broached recently by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook is hardly original. But at a down time on the NFL calendar -- one that, for instance, elevated the decision by Houston tailback Arian Foster to become a vegan into a national headline -- the suggestion that Steelers officials might want to consider a contract extension for coach Mike Tomlin has gained plenty of play in Steelers territory.
Not that team ownership, which historically had addressed a head coach's tenure when his deal has two years remaining, requires prodding. In a city that is at the same time both contrarian and parochial, Cook's column hasn't encountered any of the criticism that often accompanies his strongly-stated stances.
A columnist is paid to churn the waters, to precipitate the kind of passion that is typically roiled up by opinion. Even here, most public debates have relocated from the corner tavern, over an ice-cold Iron City beer, to the Internet. But there's barely been a peep of discord since Cook mentioned the timeliness for a Tomlin contract add-on.
And in my hometown, silence is not only golden, but generally regarded by most as tacit acceptance.
Tomlin, who recently turned 40, is under contract through the coming season, with a team-held option for 2013. Counting the playoffs, he is 60-28 in five seasons, and has been to the postseason all but one year. He owns three division championships and one wild card berth, two Super Bowl appearances and a title ring, and has averaged a dozen victories per year.
The Steelers have anted up handsomely for that impressive record -- a recent Forbes article pegged Tomlin's salary of $5.75 million as topped by only six NFL coaches, and the two-year extension rewarded Tom Coughlin by the New York Giants likely lifted the number to seven -- but it's probably time to dig deep again. Pittsburghers respect digging, still an admirable endeavor, and if the Steelers' brass unearths a new deal for Tomlin before the franchise begins the season at Denver on Sept 9, the move figures to be a popular one.
Not just because Tomlin has established himself here as a winner, but also as a sort of adopted 'Burgher. Sure, the Steelers' coach is a Tidewater guy by birth, having hailed from Hampton, Va., but he has been accepted by Pittsburgh and has embraced the city as well.
Last week, as I was leafing through an old binder before relegating it to the basement, and the mountain of notated material I've hoarded away in past years, I happened upon some scribbled reminders of a conversation with Tomlin from the NFL meetings in West Palm Brach, Fla., earlier this spring. The setting for the chat was the annual dinner hosted by the Steelers, principally a let-your-hair-down dinner for club officials and several media hacks with Pittsburgh ties, and Tomlin mentioned that he felt his two young sons, Michael Dean (often known as Dino) and Mason, might be "Central material" in the future.
Now to a graduate of Pittsburgh Central Catholic, the all-boys school that is more an alma mater to yours truly than his University of Pittsburgh college home, there are no more meaningful words. But Tomlin's potential choice of high schools for his sons, even a prep school with such a strong identification to the city, is just part of what has cast him as a naturalized Pittsburgher. He and wife Kiya live in the city, not in the burgeoning 'Burgh 'burbs to where legions have escaped, and have become a recognizable and essential part of the community.
When the Rooney Family selected Tomlin as coach in 2007, after Bill Cowher opted to depart the franchise for a hiatus and possible retirement, there was considerable discussion about whether Pittsburgh was ready for an African-American coach. With Tomlin less than two months removed from the start of his sixth season with the club, color is a non-factor. The city has embraced Tomlin, and vice versa, and it's hard to fathom the two not moving forward together.
Pittsburgh loves loyalty, the Steelers value stability, and Tomlin certainly seems to be about both of those qualities.
The city could transform Mount Washington -- the craggy but scenic bluff where both tourists and locals congregate for breathtaking views of the three rivers and of a skyline whose architectural stature might be surprising to those who still connote Pittsburgh with the grimy steel mills that once blackened the sky, but which long ago disappeared -- into a kind of Mount Rushmore memorial to its sports heroes. Problem is, there wouldn't be enough room, and the chiselers would periodically have to revive the stone edifice with new faces. But there would be one constant: the players from the Pirates, Steelers, Penguins, and local colleges who hugged the city's work ethic and gleaned pride from membership in the fraternity would be prominently featured in the handiwork.
Sports here are personal, imbued in the civic mentality, woven into the fabric of the populace. And so the more recent nominations for Pittsburgh's version of Mount Rushmore would probably include guys like Hines Ward, Sidney Crosby or Andrew McCutcheon, men who made their homes and vocations here, who either played their entire careers in Pittsburgh or who recently signed contracts that all but certainly will bind them to one franchise for life.
Players who either seemingly snubbed their noses at Pittsburgh or left for allegedly greener pastures are reviled. Just ask Marian Hossa, Jaromir Jagr, Barry Bonds, Zach Parise, Plaxico Burress, and others.
Over the weekend, on an extended visit to help clean out my mother's house so that she can sell it or give it to one of my nieces to keep the old row-home in the family (she is leaning toward the latter), the unabashed pride that Pittsburghers possess in their sports teams was once again evident. On Sunday, standing in front of the family church that has been merged into a newly-created parish, it was notable how many of the folks in Bloomfield, the east-end neighborhood in which I grew up, had taken to Pirates' hats and T-shirts as the resurgent Buccos attempt to rebond with the city after 19 seasons of losing records.
A friend, though, mentioned that, even with the excitement of the Pirates' surge to the top of their division, the Steelers open training camp in less than three weeks. The team, no matter how well Pittsburgh's other franchises are performing, really is always uppermost. And so it would seem fitting that, even with the time left on his contract, Tomlin would get an extended deal.
Since the Steelers hired the sainted Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll in 1969, the club has employed only three head coaches: Noll, Cowher, and now Tomlin, in 44 seasons. Tomlin's .682 winning percentage in his first five seasons is superior to those of Noll (.540) and Cowher (.640) over the same stretches of their careers. The comparison may be palpably unfair, since Noll inherited a franchise that had never won anything, and Cowher a team in need of refurbishing, but it's still notable.
Tomlin's two predecessors, though, became a part of the city's rich sports history, and he is poised to do the same. The Rooneys, and latest generational leader and team president Art Rooney II, are smart people who usually do the right thing, and that probably means a Tomlin extension. Especially given that the departures of Ward and James Farrior and Aaron Smith and others in the offseason has left the Steelers with a perceived leadership void.
Expect that several veteran players, but most prominently Tomlin as well, will step into the breach.
Originally Posted by Oviedo
Not really. Tomlin is under contract. What is fair is that he show up and do the work he signed on to do. Mike Wallace is not under contract. The only contract he has ever signed with the Steelers he far outplayed and completed without issue.
Tomlin will show up and work under the contract. but there is no coach franchise tag. If you let tomlin become a free agent you will have to back up a brinks truck to his door to keep him because it will be fair for him to listen to other offers.
If Mike Wallace would sign his tender and show up, the chances of him signing a new contract would increase dramatically...
Originally Posted by D Rock
One can also speculate that Tomlin's success may be due in part to the Steelers organization in general. Kevin Colbert just happens to be one of the premiere GMs in the league. I am surprised no team has backed up a Three Rivers barge full of money on his doorstep to land his talent.
It's well known that the Steelers won't negotiate with someone who doesn't show up. So if Wallace wants to continue to play his silly little games he had better be prepared to spend lots of time at home.
Originally Posted by Slapstick