Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin has two years remaining on his current contract, 12 years into his tenure with the organization. The two parties have yet to have a conversation about a possible extension, which is common but not necessarily automatic in the team’s history at this point in a head coach’s deal.
Earlier this week, team president Art Rooney II spoke to reporters, and when asked about Tomlin’s status and whether there were plans to work out an extension for him later this offseason, he said that “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”.
The comment was played up quite a bit at the time, so it’s not surprising that he was asked to clarify his remark twice yesterday during interview appearances on the local radio shows. And to be fair, when he was asked again if there is an intention to complete an extension, he told The Fan, “it’s my intention to sit down with Mike and talk about the future like we do every year”.
In an interview on WDVE, Rooney said that “it’s just the timing of that. We’ve got a lot of work to do in getting ready for the draft, getting ready for free agency here in the next few weeks. The staff will be down at the senior bowl next week. So that piece can come later in the offseason”.
Specifically, he was asked why he was much more affirmative about the intention of completing an extension with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has one year remaining on his contract, while actively declining to commit to doing so for Tomlin with two years on his deal. Part of that is because he and Tomlin simply haven’t had the opportunity yet to have that discussion.
“Mike and I have a conversation every year about the future and where we’re going with his contract and we typically have had those private conversations later in the year, so I don’t think that there’s anything to read into it other than we don’t do that at this point in the year”, he said on The Fan.
Tomlin has already been extended numerous times, since he wasn’t signed to an initial 10-year contract like the Oakland Raiders offered Jon Gruden. Only Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots has won more games over the past 12 seasons than have Tomlin’s Steelers.
Pittsburgh missed the postseason this year, but by the narrowest of margins, finishing 9-6-1 while the division-winning Baltimore Ravens won 10 games. Had Chris Boswell made a would-be game-winning field goal from 42 yards out in overtime in a season-opening tie, the Steelers would have been in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.
Tomlin previously signed three-year extensions with the Steelers in 2010 and 2012 and two-year extensions twice since then, most recently in 2017. I believe he had one year remaining on his deal on at least once occasion. In every case, the extension was completed in the summer.