Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, the Denver Broncos show their fins again. The AFC West franchise was pursuing Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach to be their new head coach, but they passed him over in favor of Vic Fangio.
Troy Renck is reporting, however, that the Broncos are continuing come after Munchak with a job offer. Even though it’s reportedly a lateral move despite the fact that their offensive coordinator job is also open, it is considered tempting for the 58-year-old because his daughter and granddaughter live there.
UPDATE: #Broncos continue to push to land Mike Munchak to coach Oline. Would be huge get. And told they haven’t given up on getting permission to talk to San Francisco 49ers quarterback coach Rich Scangarello regarding the team’s offensive coordinator position. #Denver7
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) January 12, 2019
According to Renck, the Broncos “continue to push to land Mike Munchak” as of late last night” to coach their offensive line after Sean Kugler left to join Bruce Arians’ staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kugler of course was also an offensive line coach for the Steelers for a time.
According to reports, Munchak’s contract with the Steelers has been allowed to expire. Presumably, he signed a five-year contract in 2014, or previously signed an extension—likely a two-year extension to add on to an original three-year contract.
And it’s quite possible that Munchak would have wanted his contract to expire. He was a finalist for a head coaching position last offseason before turning it down, so he knew surely that his name would be on the market once again this year and he would have more flexibility if he chose to pursue other options, even if he quite enjoyed working in Pittsburgh.
According to Aditi Kinkhabwala, the Steelers “are going everything they can to keep the beloved and outstanding Mike Munchak”. In an article that I wrote shortly after the Steelers’ season ended, I suggested promoting him to assistant head coach in the manner that John Mitchell held that title from 2007 to 2017.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) January 11, 2019
Will Graves of the Associated Press also weighed in, saying that he once asked Maurkice Pouncey how Munchak handles his negotiations with the team. “He just writes a number down, slides it over the table and they nod”, he joked.
I asked Pouncey once how he thinks Munchak negotiates with the #Steelers
“He just writes a number down, slides it over the table and they nod.”
— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) January 11, 2019
It should go without saying that Munchak is more valuable than a typical position coach. He also has more responsibilities with the team beyond coaching the offensive line, even though it is not formally acknowledged. Gerry Dulac, for example, described him as their run game coordinator. Randy Fichtner has talked about Munchak’s insights on a number of occasions this offseason.
During a season that is so focused on the culture within the organization, the loss of Munchak threatens to be a far bigger blow. If I were Pittsburgh, I would be courting Munchak’s daughter to come to Pittsburgh.