Though it’s about the least of our worries generally as it concerns the Covid-19 pandemic, the virus has done a number on the economic comfortability of the NFL landscape. Now, make no mistake, provided that they are able to get their season in, the league is still going to rake in billions and billions of dollars, hand over fist. But loss of in-stadium revenue is going to be a major hit, and that’s going to be reflected in the 2021 salary cap.
Even before training camp got underway, the NFL and the NFLPA had to work out a number of resolutions about how to approach the fallout from the pandemic—not just how to safely play the season on the ground, but also what the economic impact would be in the future.
In the end, the two parties agreed to set a hard salary cap floor of $175 million for next season, which means that the league-wide salary cap figure will be no lower than that. It could be higher than that as well, but to even equal where they are now, it would have to increase by tens of millions.
On Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II acknowledged that this increased uncertainty does have a lot to do with where the team is in terms of contracts and extension talks. Though he wouldn’t really go into specifics, Cameron Heyward is on the top of that list.
Of course, this has nothing to do with head coach Mike Tomlin and his contract status, because the salaries of the staff are not reflected in the salary cap. As it currently stands, Tomlin is under contract through 2021, with a 2022 joint option between the club and coach. The team prefers to get extensions done with their head coaches when they have two years left on their contracts.
“The only thing I can say is we are very happy with Mike as our coach and look forward to him continuing beyond this season”, Rooney told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We don’t like to get into that business and discussion his contract publicly, but we’re very happy that Mike is our coach, that’s for sure”.
When Tomlin’s extension a year ago was first reported, must was made over the fact that it was just a one-year extension including an option. It was assumed that that option was a club option, but Rooney disputed that, calling the option a “two-way street” that is for both sides.
So basically, where we currently stand is that Tomlin is under contract for this season and next season, and there is a deal already in place for both sides to pick up for 2022 if they so choose at a later point in time. By that point, he will be 50 years old and will have coached 15 seasons of football in Pittsburgh.