While the Pittsburgh Steelers have confirmed that they will be retaining the services of offensive coordinator Matt Canada through the 2023 season, for which he is under contract, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of the staff will remain intact.
At least that’s what team president Art Rooney II told Missi Matthews on Friday during a one-on-one interview for the team’s website—that it was premature to say that the group was locked in place. He alluded to senior defensive assistant Brian Flores’ interview process with other organizations but also implied that evaluations are still underway.
“It’s too early to say that we’re finished”, he said. “We have coaches interviewing at other places. It’s that time of year when coaches’ contracts are up for discussion and we’re working our way through that. Coach Tomlin is working his way through that, so I don’t really want to speculate on it as we sit here today”.
Typically, the Steelers are believed to hire coordinators on three-year contracts and position coaches on two-year contracts. We don’t know for certain whose contracts might be up, but we know that quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, and defensive backs coach Grady Brown all just completed their second seasons. Running backs coach Eddie Faulkner just completed his fourth season.
I wouldn’t expect there to be any announcements that any of these coaches—or any others—are not going to have their contracts renewed, but it’s a process that they have to go through every year, anyway, and that doesn’t mean there are never surprises. I didn’t think they would move on from Ike Hilliard as wide receivers coach after the 2021 season, but they did, hiring Frisman Jackson to take his place.
Earlier in the day during a pool reporter interview, Rooney was also asked about the possibility of hiring a coach for the offensive side of the ball similar to that of Brian Flores (and before him Teryl Austin) as a senior assistant. He did not rule that out, either, although that doesn’t necessarily mean much.
It’s entirely possible that the Steelers return the exact same staff in 2023, with the potential omission of Flores if he accepts a promotion to coordinator or head coach elsewhere. If that does happen, then they may well replace him with another senior defensive assistant. Or maybe they do add somebody like Byron Leftwich to add to the offensive staff.
And retirements are always a possibility. James Daniel was the Steelers’ tight ends coach for many years before his 2021 retirement, which prompted the hiring of Roberts. One might guess that the most realistic possibility for a retirement is special teams coordinator Danny Smith, but he strikes me as a guy who will coach until he can’t breathe anymore.