Mike Tomlin

Steelers Extend HC Mike Tomlin

Mike Tomlin‘s Steelers tenure will continue for the foreseeable future. The team announced on Monday that their Super Bowl-winning head coach has signed a three-year extension.

As a result of this move, the 52-year-old is under contract through the 2027 campaign. He enters the coming season as the league’s longest-tenured head coach, having been at the helm of the Steelers for the past 17 years. That stretch has yet to feature a losing season, although it also encompasses a notable drought for postseason success. Considering owner Art Rooney II‘s comments in January, however, this move comes as no surprise.

Tomlin’s future has faced questions recently, with speculation swirling in the winter about the possibility of taking a year off from coaching before returning to an NFL sideline. Not long after Pittsburgh’s wild-card elimination, though, Tomlin confirmed he would remain in place for 2024. Per tradition in his case, he will not enter a lame duck situation, instead moving forward with considerable term on his deal once again.

“Mike Tomlin’s leadership and commitment to the Steelers have been pivotal to our success during his first 17 years as head coach,” a statement from Rooney reads. “Extending his contract for three more years reflects our confidence in his ability to guide the team back to winning playoff games and championships, while continuing our tradition of success.”

The Steelers won the Super Bowl during Tomlin’s second year at the helm, returning to the title game two years later. The team has posted double-digit wins during the regular season seven times since then, but translating that into a deep playoff run has proven to be challenging. Pittsburgh last won a postseason contest in 2016, enduring a five-game losing streak which includes this year’s loss to the Bills.

The 2024 offseason has seen plenty of changes for the Steelers, including the arrival of a new offensive coordinator (Arthur Smith). Tomlin drew criticism for the length of Matt Canada’s tenure in that role, but Smith’s arrival is expected to produce an upgrade in rushing success. Pittsburgh’s offense will also feature new faces along the O-line and, of course, a much different looking quarterbacks room than 2023. How Tomin handles the playing time of Russell Wilson and Justin Fields will be a key 2024 storyline for the team.

Tomlin sits in a tie for 12th on the NFL’s all-time wins list with 173. If he remains in place through the length of this new pact, he will continue to climb the ranks in that regard while also remaining in Pittsburgh for 21 seasons. That would place him two years shy of Chuck Noll‘s all-time franchise record.

“I am appreciative for this contract extension and thankful for Art Rooney II for his support during my first 17 years in Pittsburgh,” Tomlin said in a statement. “We are continuing to work diligently to get back to where we belong – sustained playoff success with the ultimate goal of winning the franchise’s seventh Lombardi Trophy. I am very excited to get the 2024 season underway and provide our fans with a memorable year.”

Steelers Rumors: Patterson, Heyward, Wilson, Peterson

Cordarrelle Patterson became one of the best return men in NFL history despite playing during an era when rule changes limited the number of kickoffs that were actually returned. Patterson, 33, recently signed a two-year contract with the Steelers, and as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, the club initiated a dialogue with Patterson when talks to modify the kickoff rules were gaining steam among league owners. Once those modifications — which are designed to encourage more kick returns — were formally approved, Pittsburgh acted quickly to bring Patterson aboard.

Per Dulac, Patterson’s two-year deal is worth $6MM. While the versatile four-time First-Team All-Pro may see some action in the passing game and ground game, it is clear the Steelers are primarily counting on him to reprise his role as a dominant return specialist.

Now for more news and notes out of Pittsburgh:

  • Franchise icon Cameron Heyward seemed to be contemplating retirement following a 2023 season marred by a serious groin injury, and there was even a possibility that the Steelers could seek to release him given how much cap room the club could save by doing so. As Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk relayed back in February, Heyward underwent an unspecified surgery, and the player himself wrote on X that he is “done doing stuff on [one] leg that guys were doing on [two] legs.” Heyward added that he “can’t wait to get back to myself,” and Dale Lolley of the team’s official website wrote several weeks ago that HC Mike Tomlin believes the soon-to-be 35-year-old will be fully cleared by training camp. In sum, it appears that Heyward will be back for a 14th season, $22.41MM cap charge and all.
  • Another indication that Heyward would return to the Steelers for the 2024 campaign is the fact that he was one of the strongest advocates for the team’s Russell Wilson acquisition, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (video link). Both players have Walter Payton Man of the Year Award honors to their name, and Tomlin also pushed for a Wilson signing after meeting with the veteran passer. According to Pelissero, Wilson’s agent made calls around the league to see if any team — like the Steelers — that might be interested in signing his client to a one-year contract would also be willing to tack on an “unprecedented, massive player option for 2025.” Unsurprisingly, there were no takers, so after another lengthy conversation with Tomlin, Wilson signed his contract with Pittsburgh.
  • Defensive back Patrick Peterson, whom the Steelers released last month, recently said that he has had preliminary talks with a handful of teams since his release, though he does not anticipate signing a new deal before the upcoming draft. The future Hall of Fame corner struggled during his one season in Pittsburgh, and the team gave him an extended look at safety as a result. Once clubs have a better idea of their roster weaknesses post-draft, interest in Peterson could pick up, and as Lolley writes, Tomlin is open to a Steelers-Peterson reunion (though a new contract will certainly be less valuable than the two-year, $14MM accord Peterson signed with the club in 2023).
  • Before signing Wilson and trading for Justin Fields, the Steelers considered, at least to some degree, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill, and Tyler Huntley.

Steelers, Russell Wilson Plan To Discuss New Contract After 2024 Season; More On Justin Fields Trade

Despite yesterday’s stunning trade that sent Justin Fields from the Bears to the Steelers, the recently-signed Russell Wilson will remain in place as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, head coach Mike Tomlin reached out to Wilson before the trade was finalized to let the nine-time Pro Bowler know that his job is safe.

And, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wilson and the Steelers are interested in a multiyear arrangement. While Pittsburgh is paying Wilson the veteran minimum on his one-year deal for 2024 — the Broncos are picking up the rest of Wilson’s $39MM tab — player and team are already planning to explore a “longer deal” at the the end of the season.

It would seem a bit premature to make those types of plans. After all, while Wilson’s second year in Denver was much better than his first, his brief stint with the Broncos was generally a disappointing one. And even if the Steelers do not exercise Fields’ fifth-year option for 2025, it is certainly possible that he impresses enough over the course of the upcoming year to convince Tomlin — long rumored to be a Fields fan — that his newest acquisition is worthy of a new contract and a starting role. Plus, Wilson will be 36 by the end of the 2024 campaign, while Fields just turned 25.

Nonetheless, the fact that these reports are even circulating is evidence of the Steelers’ faith in Wilson. And considering that the club is committing so little salary to him and was able to acquire Fields for a sixth-round draft choice — which will only become a fourth-rounder if Fields plays 51% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps in 2024 — the Fields trade will have been worth it even if he simply plays out the season as a high-end insurance policy for Wilson and heads elsewhere next year.

It was not too long ago that Dulac and other Steelers beats unequivocally wrote that the team would not pursue an external addition (like Wilson and Fields) who was eyeing a QB1 role. Per Pro Football Talk, those reports were correct when they were published, but the club has dramatically changed how its views the quarterback position over the past month. During that time, Pittsburgh saw Mason Rudolph sign with the Titans in free agency and subsequently traded Kenny Pickett to the Eagles. Whether Rudolph’s departure is what triggered the shift in organizational philosophy — Dulac et al. had suggested that Rudolph and Pickett could compete for the starting quarterback job in 2024 — is unclear, but one way or another, the Steelers have overhauled their QB room in a short amount of time, and for minimal cost.

Meanwhile, Chicago fans have Caleb Williams to look forward to in the near future, but the club is doubtlessly disappointed that it was unable to fetch a larger return for Fields, the No. 11 overall pick of the 2021 draft. We heard just last week that the Bears were not panicking even when the market for Fields did not develop as hoped, and as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk opines, the club should have continued exercising patience. If GM Ryan Poles was willing to accept a 2025 draft choice in exchange for Fields, he might have waited until the 2024 draft was over to see which teams were left without a passer. He might even have kept Fields on the roster, at least as a backup, and waited to collect a compensatory draft pick if and when Fields signed with a different club as a free agent next March.

Perhaps, as Florio suggests, Poles felt that he was doing the right thing for Fields by trading him sooner rather than later. Regardless of his rationale, Poles did confirm in a statement after the trade was announced that he had been exploring a deal for weeks.

The statement, issued by the club’s official X feed, reads, “We have engaged in multiple trade conversations in recent weeks and believe trading Justin at this time to Pittsburgh is what is best for both Justin and the Bears. Today we spoke to Justin to inform him of the trade and the rationale behind it for us as a Club. We want to thank him for his tireless dedication, leadership and all he poured into our franchise and community the last three years and wish him the best towards a long and successful NFL career.”

Per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, five teams contacted the Bears to dicuss a Fields trade, though all of those clubs viewed Fields as a backup. Poles had hoped that the 2021 trade that sent Sam Darnold from the Jets to the Panthers in exchange for a 2021 sixth-rounder, a 2022 second-rounder, and a 2022 fourth-rounder would provide a framework for a Fields deal, but at the time, Carolina clearly viewed Darnold as a starter. Since rival teams did not feel the same way about Fields, Poles elected to resolve the matter quickly and to start the Williams era with a clean slate.

Steelers Planning Mike Tomlin Extension; Team To Hold QB Competition

Mike Tomlin‘s status with the 2024 Steelers appeared in doubt as this season wound down, but the longtime Pittsburgh leader is not going anywhere. And Tomlin, as should be expected, will not enter the ’24 slate as a lame duck.

The Steelers are planning to give their veteran head coach another extension, Art Rooney II said Thursday (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac). Tomlin’s current deal runs through the 2024 season. This stands to be Tomlin’s eighth Steelers contract.

Succeeding Bill Cowher back in 2007, Tomlin is now the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach. He guided the Steelers to the playoffs for an 11th time, dropping a wild-card game to the Bills. Evasive about his contract status after that game, Tomlin is indeed coming back. Tomlin, 51, has won a Super Bowl and led Pittsburgh to Super Bowl XLV, a loss to the Packers, two years later. But he is on a cold streak in the postseason. The Steelers have not won a playoff game since beating the Alex Smith-led Chiefs in the 2016 divisional round, losing their past five postseason matchups.

Tomlin’s 17-year streak without a losing season has become a somewhat divisive issue, seeing as this playoff-win drought has transpired during the streak’s second half. Thirteen seasons have also now passed since that yellow pants Super Bowl, a 31-25 Green Bay win, transpired. But Tomlin remains one of the NFL’s most respected figures. Steelers plans for this extension emerged in December, with neither the notion of him taking the 2024 season off nor the prospect of the Steelers trading his rights elsewhere gaining much traction.

As we heard in November, Tomlin will look at outside candidates for the Steelers’ offensive coordinator post (via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor). The team used Eddie Faulkner as its nominal OC but had QBs coach Mike Sullivan calling plays. Steelers ownership’s confidence in Tomlin’s coordinator picks has wavered, to a degree, making this upcoming hire crucial. The Steelers made some progress since firing Matt Canada — the franchise’s first in-season firing in decades — but they have not been confused with a potent offense in years. Kenny Pickett‘s status adds to the importance of Pittsburgh’s play-caller move.

Tomlin confirmed Thursday (via The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly) that Pickett will enter another offseason as the team’s starting quarterback, but the team is planning to hold a competition for the job. Mason Rudolph may be positioned to provide that, but Tomlin reminded the end-of-season starter played on an expiring contract this season.

A Pickett-Rudolph competition, as it stands now, probably would not excite a sizable sect of Steelers fans. The 2022 first-round pick has underwhelmed during his run as a starter, being stuck on 13 touchdown passes despite making 24 starts. Rudolph provided a spark when replacing Mitch Trubisky late this season, guiding the Steelers to three straight wins to give Tomlin his 10th 10-win season as a head coach. But the high-floor routine that has become the team’s Tomlin-era M.O. has not produced much of consequence, outside of perhaps the team’s hot start in 2020, since the Killer B’s 2017 finale.

Non-Rudolph free agent options that could push Pickett will be available. While Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield may not be viable candidates here, as both will be starter candidates to stay with their current clubs, a number of bridge or high-end backup arms will be available. This includes Ryan Tannehill, Gardner Minshew, Sam Darnold, Jacoby Brissett, Jameis Winston and others. Both Russell Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo loom as cut candidates, with the former a near-certainty to be released.

It will be interesting to see if the Steelers would consider adding one of these options and Rudolph, who played out a veteran-minimum deal in 2023. The Steelers are expected to cut Trubisky, which will create nearly $3MM in cap space, but Rudolph also may want to explore a QB2 opportunity elsewhere. If nothing else, the former third-round pick played well enough he probably will not need to settle for vet-minimum money in 2024.

The QB and OC pieces in Tomlin’s 2024 puzzle may go a long way toward determining how much longer the Steelers will want to stick with the status quo. That said, the upcoming extension will keep Tomlin’s seat fairly cool. But the Steelers’ viability next season will undoubtedly come down to how Tomlin and GM Omar Khan handle the big-picture questions on offense.

Mike Tomlin To Remain With Steelers In 2024

Speculation about Mike Tomlin‘s plans for at least the immediate future can be put to rest. The NFL’s longest-tenured coach informed the Steelers he will remain in place for the 2024 campaign, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports.

Only one year remains on Tomlin’s current contract. Given the general pattern of working out extensions with two years left on his pact followed by the Steelers, questions have been raised about a potential lame-duck season. Recent reports have pointed to Tomlin stepping back and evaluating his situation in the offseason, but he has very quickly arrived at a decision. Garafolo adds he is expected to speak to the media on the subject later this week.

Pittsburgh’s season – which, as has become commonplace in recent years, included doubts about Tomlin’s streak of never having a losing season – resulted in a 10-7 record and a playoff appearance. However, the Steelers’ wild-card loss to the Bills on Monday leaves the team without a postseason win since 2016. Criticism of Tomlin in that regard has intensified, but he received significant public shows of support from his players in the aftermath of the loss. Now, any potential Pittsburgh coaching search will be delayed by at least one year.

The 2023 campaign was defined in large part by Pittsburgh’s nearly unprecedented decision to make an in-season coordinator change. Replacing Matt Canada was a move many had called for leading up to his dismissal, but it did not yield the desired results on a consistent basis. The more significant alteration to the team’s success on offense came when Mason Rudolph took over at quarterback late in the year. Even after Kenny Pickett returned to full health from ankle surgery, Tomlin elected to stick with Rudolph as the the team found success in the ground game.

Tomlin would have been able to command a hefty trade market had he elected to depart Pittsburgh, and a report from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer indicated teams around the league were inquiring about such a move. Given the length of his tenure, it would also have come as little surprise if the 51-year-old had elected to take a year off from coaching before returning in 2025. Still, today’s news marks the expected outcome given the mutual sense between Tomlin and the Steelers that their relationship would continue which emerged during the season.

Pittsburgh enters the 2024 offseason with a number of key questions to answer, including at the quarterback position. Rudolph is a pending free agent while Pickett’s chances of retaining the starter’s role heading into next season have obviously taken a hit. Veteran Mitch Trubisky is on the books for two more years, but his time with the Steelers is thought to be over. The team must also search for a permanent solution with respect to an offensive coordinator.

Tomlin will no doubt have a major say in both of those decisions as he prepares for an 18th campaign in charge of the Steelers. His contract status will remain a key talking point (especially if no extension is worked out in the offseason), but for the time being his future is no longer in doubt.

Mike Tomlin Undecided On Steelers Future?

JANUARY 16: Tomlin’s Steelers fell to the Bills on Monday as many expected, bringing the team’s season to an end. To no surprise, Tomlin faced a question about his future, but he declined to address the topic. He instead elected to depart his press conference when his contract was mentioned (video link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). Until further clarity emerges as it pertains to the NFL’s longest-tenured coach, Tomlin’s status will be worth monitoring.

JANUARY 14: The Steelers will take on the Bills in a wild-card matchup tomorrow, a game that was pushed back a day due to heavy snow in Buffalo. Pittsburgh is a heavy underdog in that contest, and according to a number of high-profile NFL pundits, it is fair to wonder whether it will be head coach Mike Tomlin‘s last game on the Steelers’ sidelines.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says that whenever Pittsburgh’s season comes to an end, Tomlin will discuss his future with his family and “reassess his situation.” While such a reassessment takes place at the end of every season, Florio suggests the situation is different this time around because Tomlin is only signed through 2024 and has never inked an extension with just one year left on his contract. In Florio’s estimation, Tomlin could certainly re-up with the Steelers, but he could also forego a new contract, finish out his current deal in 2024, and become a free agent in 2025. Alternatively, like current Broncos head coach Sean Payton did when he was under contract with the Saints, Tomlin could choose to sit out a year and see if another club pursues a trade for his rights (of course, regardless of whether Tomlin re-signs or chooses to enter 2024 as a lame duck, that may not prevent another team from trying to acquire via him via trade).

To be clear, the factual underpinning of Florio’s report is flawed. When Tomlin signed a three-year extension in April 2021, his existing contract at the time only kept him under club control through the end of the 2021 season; in other words, he has indeed gone into an offseason with just one year left on a contract. However, Florio is not the only one who believes Tomlin’s Pittsburgh future is uncertain.

On January 7, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (video link) reported that the Steelers would not fire Tomlin, which jibes with Florio’s own report from last month, when he wrote that Pittsburgh had no desire to move on from its head coach and had no reason to believe that Tomlin did not want to continue his tenure with the club. Glazer did add, however, that “it’ll be [Tomlin’s] choice if he goes back to the Steelers or not, but it will be his choice.”

Just one day later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter (video link via Awful Announcing) said that some league sources believe Tomlin could decide to take a year off, a la Payton. While Schefter did confirm that the Steelers have no intention of parting ways with Tomlin if the Super Bowl-winning head coach wants to return, he noted that Tomlin is a Washington, D.C. native and that his wife loves Los Angeles, thereby implying that the Commanders’ and Chargers’ HC vacancies may be appealing to him.

Although the 2023 campaign looked to be heading nowhere after three straight losses from Weeks 13-15 — including defeats at the hands of the woeful Cardinals and Patriots — Tomlin’s decision to insert quarterback Mason Rudolph into the starting lineup in Week 16 paid immediate dividends, as the Steelers rattled off three consecutive victories at the end of the season to sneak into the seventh and final spot in the AFC playoff field. That said, no matter what happens in the playoffs, Pittsburgh’s long-term QB situation is decidedly unsettled, and between the in-season firing of OC Matt Canada and some locker room tension, 2023 has doubtlessly been a trying one for Tomlin.

As such, it would not be as surprising as it might have been in past years to see Tomlin step away for a time or move on to a different team. If he opts for the latter course, there will be no shortage of interest in his services. Now that Bill Belichick and the Patriots have parted ways, Tomlin is the longest-tenured head coach in the league, but he is still just 51 (he will turn 52 in March). While the contingent of Pittsburgh fans that believe Tomlin should be fired are surely tired of hearing about it, Tomlin has famously never had a sub-.500 season, and he boasts a 173-100-2 regular season record.

Detractors will point out that Tomlin is 8-9 in the postseason and has not won a playoff game since 2016, both of which are fair criticisms. Nonetheless, his overall body of work has kept him in good stead in the Steelers’ front office and will make him a hot commodity elsewhere if he seeks a change of scenery.

Teams Considering Trading For Steelers HC Mike Tomlin

Blood has already been drawn in the realm of NFL head coaches. So far, three vacancies have been created with the head coach firings in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Carolina, and two of those teams also fired their general managers. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, there’s an expectation that four or more jobs could be open by the start of the playoffs.

The Raiders have parted ways with Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, while Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco were let go by the Chargers. These moves sandwiched the Panthers firing Frank Reich. There is growing unease in Chicago, where Bears head coach Matt Eberflus has amassed a 9-23 record over his first two years with the team. Dennis Allen has also failed to reach a winning record after nearly two seasons with the Saints. Nobody’s seat is as hot as Falcons head coach Arthur Smith. Even a head coaching legend like Bill Belichick may be parting ways with the Patriots this offseason.

Yet, in all this mess, one head coach who may be redeeming his reputation is Mike Tomlin. After losing four of five games before this weekend, Pittsburgh was finally able deliver a convincing win, its first of the year by more than a single possession. When Tomlin was headed toward his first season as a head coach with a losing record, there were many who thought he may be out of a job in Pittsburgh. Instead, his ability to take some of his worst rosters and still deliver more wins than losses has the Steelers considering yet another contract extension.

According to Glazer, though, Pittsburgh isn’t the only team thinking about him as a potential head coach of the future. While many teams seem to have been hoping for a stumble down the stretch that would make Tomlin available after the 2023 season, with a contract extension on the horizon in Pittsburgh, some teams have yet to give up hope of acquiring the tenured head coach. Glazer drops that a number of teams have considered trading for Tomlin.

It hasn’t been long since we last saw a franchise acquire a head coach through trade. Eleven months ago, we saw the Broncos and Saints exchange a few picks with the end result sending the rights to Sean Payton‘s contract to Denver. Bruce Arians required a small trade package from the Buccaneers in 2019. Before that, we have to go back to the 2000s and before, when names like Jon Gruden, Herm Edwards, Bill Parcells, Mike Holmgren, and Belichick were all getting dealt for draft picks. If a team was hoping to lure Pittsburgh into a trade that would relinquish Tomlin, they’re likely going to have to build quite the haul, especially now that he is a win away from extending his streak of never having had a losing season to 17 years.

If a team is going to attempt to trade for Tomlin, it’s likely going to be a team that already has a lot of strong pieces. For instance, the Chargers have a lot of working pieces but have struggled to find success. They’ve recently invested in a franchise quarterback, they have a duo of strong, veteran receivers, and a versatile running back on offense. The defense, despite laying claims to stars like Derwin James and Khalil Mack and strong contributors in Asante Samuel Jr., Eric Kendricks, and Kenneth Murray, has been one of the league’s worst units in 2023. Trading for a coach like Tomlin, who has a strong history of building defensive legends in Pittsburgh, could be the move that gets Los Angeles over a recent losing hump.

There’s even been slight chatter about the Bills organization having a bad taste in their mouths from a lack of playoff success. It seems like a long shot, especially after the Bills improved their playoff odds this weekend with their third straight win, but if Buffalo executives feel that it’s coaching that is holding the team back from a Super Bowl appearance, a trade for Tomlin may be in play.

Regardless, this post simply cracks open the seal for what is sure to be an active offseason. A potential of seven or eight job openings leaves plenty of room for such speculation. A number of impressive coordinators are sure to stake their claims on new jobs, but don’t be too surprised if the NFL’s two longest-tenured head coaches find their way to new franchises in the offseason.

Steelers Plan To Extend HC Mike Tomlin

As speculation regarding the 2024 coaching cycle continues to heat up, Mike Tomlin‘s name has been mentioned amidst questions with respect to his job security. A recent report indicated the Steelers were not interested in making a change on the sidelines, though, and further signs continue to point that way.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports the Steelers “have no desire” to move on from Tomlin, adding that they “have no reason to think” the 51-year-old is interested in anything other than continuing his tenure in Pittsburgh. Tomlin is currently under contract through 2024, after the team did not repeat its pattern of agreeing to two-year extensions every other season to avoid lame duck situations.

Florio notes the Steelers plan to extend Tomlin before the start of the 2024 campaign, a move which would keep him on the books for years to come. He adds that the former Super Bowl winner has already been “directly involved” with roster decisions affecting 2024 and ’25, another sign of his continued commitment to the organization. Tomlin has come under fire this season in particular with offensive struggles being a consistent issue.

That resulted in the mid-season firing of offensive coordinator Matt Canada, although interim replacement Mike Sullivan is not expected to have a chance to earn the full-time role. At least one signficant change will therefore take place in the near future, and a number of major decisions (such as the viability of Kenny Pickett as a long-term answer at the QB position) will need to be made this offseason. Tomlin appears set to be at the heart of that process.

Pittsburgh has famously never had a losing record during his tenure, something which is at risk in his 17th season at the helm. The Steelers enter today’s contest on a three-game losing streak dropping them to 7-7 on the year and putting them in danger of missing the postseason. Failing to win a playoff game this year would extend the team’s drought in that regard (which dates back to 2016) even further.

Three coaching vacancies are in place at the moment (Raiders, Panthers, Chargers) and Florio adds that trade interest for Tomlin could exist depending on how the 2024 hiring cycle plays out. If he and the Steelers have their way, however, their relationship will continue into the future.

Steelers Notes: Tomlin, Sullivan, Pickett

The Steelers’ Mitchell Trubisky-quarterbacked losses to the Cardinals and Patriots are not likely to lead to a Mike Tomlin ouster. The patient organization is not expected to move the 17th-year HC to the hot seat, but some issues with Tomlin’s moves have come up within the building.

As of now, it does not look likely the Steelers will make another in-house promotion to fill the offensive coordinator role. Play-caller Mike Sullivan has next to no chance to follow in Randy Fichtner and Matt Canada‘s footsteps, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post.

Although the Steelers received an initial bump with Sullivan calling the shots, it was short-lived. They surpassed 400 total yards for the first time since Week 2 of the 2020 season, but the team has endured ugly home losses in the weeks since. A former Buccaneers and Giants OC, Sullivan is working as the Steelers’ play-caller while Eddie Faulkner — previously the team’s running backs coach — holds the interim OC title. Both Fichtner (who replaced Todd Haley in 2018) and Canada (who replaced Fichtner in 2021) were elevated from QBs coach to OC; Sullivan is unlikely to make the same move. Some of Tomlin’s hiring choices have drawn questions inside the organization, and La Canfora adds it is likely ownership will play a role as Tomlin searches for his next play-caller.

Slow starts and the inconsistent usage of promising former UDFA Jaylen Warren have also confounded some in the team’s building, per La Canfora, but Kenny Pickett‘s status is also worth monitoring. Last year’s No. 20 overall pick has not taken off in his second season, and while he has not had much time to work with Sullivan calling the plays, the Pitt product has underwhelmed based on his draft status. Questions within the organization remain concerning Pickett’s development, JLC adds.

Two years remain on Pickett’s rookie contract, and although the Steelers’ next OC will play the lead role in this development effort, the team has seen its efforts thus far stall. Pickett sits 25th in QBR, after ranking 20th in a low-octane rookie season that did include some promising late-game showings near its conclusion. Pickett has managed only 13 touchdown passes in 24 starts; he has posted just a 6.3-yard average per attempt over his career. It is not yet known if the Steelers want to take the route the 2020 Bears took with Trubisky, acquiring a veteran (Nick Foles) to compete with the scuffling starter. But concern about Pickett’s progress is probably warranted at this point.

Tomlin, 51, did not receive an extension this offseason, but if the Steelers are planning to retain him for 2024 — thus far, all signs point to the affirmative — they will likely hand out another contract before next season to avoid lame-duck status. Once again, the well-regarded HC’s .500-or-better streak is in jeopardy. Trubisky is set to make another start, and the wild-card contender (7-6) is sinking fast.

Even with the Steelers’ penchant for coach stability, Tomlin has generated scrutiny in recent years. The team has not won a playoff game since a touchdown-less triumph over the Chiefs in the 2016 divisional round, losing twice at home since. The Steelers’ status quo may face bigger-picture questions in 2024. How the franchise, which is still positioned in a wild-card spot despite the recent defeats, reassembles pieces may well become pivotal toward Tomlin’s long-term standing.

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin Not On Hot Seat

The Steelers’ postseason chances took a hit over the past several days with upset home losses to the Cardinals and Patriots. Those defeats leave the team at 7-6, once again threatening head coach Mike Tomlin‘s well-known mark of never posting a sub-.500 record in a season.

Regardless of if that streak continues or is brought to an end, a change on the sidelines should not be expected in Pittsburgh. Tomlin is not seriously seen by any member of the organization as being on the hot seat, Dianna Russini of the Athletic reports (subscription required). The 51-year-old is currently in his 17th season at the helm of the Steelers.

Offensive struggles have been a major storyline surrounding the team in 2023, and shortcomings on that side of the ball led to increasing calls for OC Matt Canada to be replaced. In an extraordinarily rare move given the franchise’s track record on in-season firings, Canada was let go last month. The change to a new setup of Eddie Faulkner serving as OC and Mike Sullivan calling plays seemed to spark an immediate improvement, but things took a turn for the worse over the past two contests.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett was injured in the Arizona loss, leaving Mitch Trubisky in place to serve as starter for the Thursday night New England game. The latter is set to have a multi-game run in the No. 1 role given the recovery timeline for Pickett’s ankle sprain, on which he immediately had surgery. Even when healthy, the 2022 first-rounder has not developed as hoped this year, leading many to identify quarterback as an area of need for the Steelers this offseason. Plenty is yet to be determined for the team down the stretch, however.

Pittsburgh could still qualify for the postseason in a crowded AFC wild-card picture; doing so would mark the 11th playoff appearance in Tomlin’s tenure. The Super Bowl XLIII winner has not managed a postseason victory since the 2016 season, however, and the Steelers have recorded double-digit wins only twice in the span. In spite of the relative cold spell, Tomlin had always maintained security from a contractual perspective before the current season.

The Steelers followed a pattern of authorizing two-year Tomlin extensions every other spring for several years, but that cycle did not continue in 2023. As a result, Tomlin is on the books through 2024 and in danger of entering next season in a lame-duck situation. Given Pittsburgh’s reputation for stability on the sidelines, though, it comes as no surprise that Tomlin is set to remain in place for at least the remainder of the current campaign.

Only Bill Belichick has a longer tenure amongst active NFL head coaches, and his New England future has been the subject of signficant speculation this year. A change in New England could vault Tomlin to the top of the list in terms of longevity, but the latter will no doubt be the subject of considerable scrutiny if the Steelers fall outside the playoffs for a second straight year in 2023.