While the Pittsburgh Steelers believe that they have a man in Shaun Sarrett that is both capable and prepared to lead the team’s offensive line, the organization also recognized the importance of Mike Munchak to the organization, a fact that we are learning of more after the fact.
After the fact, of course, because the 58-year-old chose to accept a position in the same capacity with the Denver Broncos this offseason, the decision being prompted, in his own words, by family. He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after accepting the position that if his daughter had lived in Pittsburgh rather than Denver, he would have had no reason to go.
But because he did go, fans have been extremely critical of the organization, which has also led to making assumptions. Why didn’t they extend his contract last year so that he would not be able to make a lateral move this year, for example? Well, as Art Rooney II said last year, they tried.
And as Bob Labriola said yesterday in an Asked and Answered segment, “their effort to extend his contract included a salary very reflective of his status as one of the premier position coaches in the NFL”.
While we don’t know the details of Munchak’s contract with the Broncos, it’s safely believed to be among the very highest in the league for an offensive line coach, and many suspect that it will be higher than the salary of their next offensive coordinator.
As we learned just before it was announced that Munchak would be taking the job in Denver that the Steelers were still pushing to re-sign him, doing ‘everything they can’, and that undoubtedly including trying to match the Broncos’ offer, but Denver had the one thing they couldn’t deliver, which is his grandchild.
When Pittsburgh first announced that it has hired Munchak as its offensive line coach in 2014, it was heralded as the biggest move of the offseason, and it did prove to be that, as he played an integral role in turning their group into the best offensive line in the league, sending three linemen to the Pro Bowl in two straight years.
But in his time here he not only developed these players, he also developed a coach under him, and Sarrett will get the chance to see if he can fill the shoes. Munchak has full belief in his former assistant coach, as seemingly do the offensive linemen, so time will tell.
Even if that’s true, however, the Steelers were in no rush to lose a great man to another organization, even if it was in the name of his family. That’s why they pushed hard to try to keep him around for the past year, according to Rooney and Labriola.