The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Mike Tomlin will receive a contract extension before the first preseason game.
Explanation: As everyone should be aware by now, the Steelers’ preference is to extend their head coach with two years remaining on his contract, though there have been instances in which this has not happened. I believe it even happened to Tomlin once. Coming off a 9-6-1 non-playoff season, many have wondered if he will get an extension this time around, but if he does, based on history, it will happen soon.
The fact that Tomlin has yet to be extended means virtually nothing, I feel it advisable to start off here by pointing out. I really don’t even know when the last time might be that the Steelers as an organization gave a head coach a contract extension in March or April. It’s just not the way they do things.
It’s pretty consistently gotten done in mid- to late-July, generally in the first couple of weeks of training camp. Art Rooney II and Tomlin regroup and have a discussion—both of them talked about this earlier in the offseason—and after that is when talk of extending a deal gets underway.
And there is no reason for it not to happen. The Steelers have had a strong offseason overall, working to eliminate issues both on and off the field. The front office has got to like what they see heading into 2019.
Just because something is typically done in one way doesn’t mean it always has to be that way. Tomlin never traded up in the first round before, but he did it now. The Steelers could go this season without extending him following a season, and offseason, with a great deal of tumult.
Let’s make this clear: Tomlin is under contract for two more years. 2019 and 2020. Not getting a deal done would be marginally notable, but it’s not necessarily a death knell for his future with the team, either. At worst, it just means that they would like to see how this year plays out because of how the 2018 season went down.