Mike Tomlins' Contract Extension and What It Could Mean

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IJuly 13, 2010

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 19:  Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers speaks during a press conference following practice on April 19, 2010 at the Pittsburgh Steelers South Side training facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

News Flash: the Pittsburgh Steelers don't like to change head coaches.

With the new contract in the pocket of Mike Tomlin, the Steelers continue tradition, effectively assuring that they will go at least 44 years with only three head coaches.

What could this mean?

It means that Mike Tomlin gets it.

Shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 season, there were many rumors that Bruce Arians was going to be fired. As it turns out, he wasn't.

This immediately raised the question of the future of the coaching staff in Pittsburgh.

Was it Tomlin that insisted Arians stay?

The Steelers normally sign their head coach to an extension with two years remaining on their current contract. Mike Tomlins' contract was set to expire after the 2010 season, with a team option for 2011.

Tomlin's future and it's link to Arians's were was the subjects of a lot of talk, and it was even rumored that if Arians chose not to conform to the Steelers' way, both would be shown the door at the end of 2010.

With the resigning of Tomlin, their futures are NOT linked and if Arians does not break out the Offensive Coordinators for Dummies handbook and actually learns how to call plays, there will only be one coaching vacancy in 2011.

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Could a new CBA be coming?

One of the signs that so many people were quick to point out in relation to the NFL - CBA, was that most coaches contracts are set to expire after the 2010 season.

Much of the reasoning centered on the fact that teams wouldn't pay coaches when there were no players to coach.

With Tomlin under contract through the end of 2010, there is no reason to force the issue right now as long as they sit on Tomlins' rights until the end of the 2010 season, They can worry about an extension at the end of the year.

Winds of change could be blowing for the defense.

I have said this before, and will say it again. Dick LeBeau is a genius. There is no question about that. As long as he chooses to be the Steelers' defensive coordinator, in my opinion, the job is his.

But, let's be honest, LeBeau is getting old. OK, not getting old, he is old. I only hope and pray that when I turn 60 I look as good as he does at 72.

The reality though, is that at some point LeBeau is going to want to stop coaching and no one will be able to blame him. He has been a member of the NFL for 51 years.

Flash Back: It's April's NFL Draft and Pittsburgh was going to address the eventual replacement for Casey Hampton. In order to run the 3-4 defense you have to have that anchor in the middle of the field. The Steelers did not draft a single player that could play NT in the 3-4.


Once LeBeau retires, Tomlin is going to switch to the 4-3.

The Steelers spent four draft picks in the 2010 NFL Draft on potential 4-3 defenders.

Jason Worilds (second round) and Thaddeus Gibson (fourth round) are both potential 4-3 defensive ends. Doug Worthington (seventh round) played DT at Ohio State. In the 3-4, Worthington would have to move to DE. In the 4-3, he would play his natural position.

Do you know who else had to move to DE, away from his natural position of DT? 2009 first round pick, Ziggy Hood.

Two years ago, most teams stated that Tomlin was one of the best coaches in the NFL. Last year, they said that he was overrated.

The Steelers obviously believe he is worth it, and if they are right, more "Sticky" Lombardis could be on the way.