Entering the fourth year of his contract, speculation has been rampant this off-season, Steelers ownership may have their doubts about head coach Mike Tomlin being the right guy for the job. However, those in the know have contended for months it was a certainty Tomlin would receive a contract extension before training camp.
According to a report by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that will be the case. Bouchette reports Tomlin has agreed to a new three year extension that runs through the 2014 season. Tomlin had one year left on his deal and a club option for 2011.
The team has yet to make an official announcement.
The 38 year old Tomlin has guided the Steelers to three winning seasons, two playoff appearances and a Super Bowl title in 2008. Financial terms of the new deal are unknown but Tomlin’s new deal is expected to pay him upwards of $4.5 million per season, according to league contacts.
Tomlin’s new deal reaffirms the Rooney’s remain strong supporters of him moving forward and it sends a good message going into the season.
Tomlin’s authority on personnel moves during the 2010 draft, especially the team’s decision making process in the 2nd round, should have been a clear sign to the doubters that ownership remains behind Tomlin.
The decision to pass up on Penn State linebacker Sean Lee in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft has been regarded as a heated moment inside the organization.
Lee had a first round grade from the Steelers scouting staff and was the consensus pick in the organization. However, Tomlin had his sights set on adding Virginia Tech linebacker Jason Worilds who was rated high on the Steelers board but much lower than Lee.
Tomlin won out and the Steelers selected Worilds with the 52nd overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Tomlin faces his biggest task this season with the uncertainty surrounding his team, which has been mirred by embarrassments and controversy.
The team will be without their star quarterback for at least 4 games but have also suffered a number of other personnel losses this off-season.
The team traded away wide receiver Santonio Holmes whose impact on this team will be greatly missed and has been overlooked due to Roethlisberger’s off the field actions. Question marks also center around the offensive line once again and the Steelers were dealt a significant blow when Willie Colon was lost for the season weeks ago.
Personnel wise there are doubts that the Steelers will be able to get back to their championship form from 2008. Ownership though made the right move in avoiding another distraction by getting a new deal done with Tomlin before camp opens.
How Tomlin approaches his fourth training camp will be interesting to watch. In his first season at the helm, Tomlin put the Steelers through a rigorous camp in 2007. Last season coming off a Super Bowl title, Tomlin ran a laid back camp.
The Steelers missed the playoffs under Tomlin for the first time in 2009, posting a 9-7 record.