Reports have begun swirling that Mike Tomlin is on the short list for Daniel Snyder to become the next head coach of the Washington Redskins. ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Tomlin would be among the Redskin’s owner’s top choices to replace Jay Gruden who was fired earlier this week. Now there are several hurdles against this ever happening, first and foremost being that Tomlin is under contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers until 2021. With that in mind, there are only two ways Snyder could pull off getting his man in Washington. The Steelers would either have to fire Mike Tomlin (never going to happen), or the two sides would have to work out a trade.
If you believe the usual suspects in the Pittsburgh media, the likelihood of the Steelers trading their head coach are less than zero. If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because we have heard this several times over the last two years. Remember “the Steelers never draft a corner back in the first round”? That was true until they drafted Artie Burns in the first round in 2016. How about “the Steelers never make any big moves during the draft”? Kevin Colbert made a huge splash moving into the top ten to draft Devin Bush just this past year. Then there’s my favorite of them all. “The Steelers never, ever, ever ever, trade their first round pick……..EVER! Well guess what, that was true until they did. The point here is there are no absolutes in life, and certainly not in the NFL. To say the Steelers would never trade their head coach is just not a true statement. It does go against the usual way the team operates, but as we have seen over the last few seasons just about anything is possible.
Even if it is true that the Pittsburgh Steelers have no desire to move on from Mike Tomlin, who’s to say that he feels the same about the Steelers? One of the sides had reservations about staying together long term otherwise there would have been more than just a one year extension on his contract for the team’s head coach. What we do know is that if Tomlin ever to got to a point where he was able to negotiate with anyone other than the Steelers, there would be a huge payday waiting for him. Tomlin had to be looking at the Jon Gruden $100 million dollar contract, and start asking himself if his resume isn’t as good or better. There’s also the little detail of all the ties the Steelers coach has with the Washington area. Mike Tomlin is originally from that part of the country, and now his son plays football just a few miles away from the Redskins stadium at the University of Maryland.
Obviously the situation with the Washington Redskins is not ideal for any head coach at this point. Daniel Snyder is universally known as one of the worst owners in the National Football League. His president/general manager Bruce Allen also has a reputation for undermining the team’s head coaches. Then there’s the overall lack of talent the team now suffers from. The Redskins job would be nothing short of a complete rebuild. It’s right to question whether or not Mike Tomlin would want to deal with all the negatives associated with a franchise like this. The great equalizer in all this of course is money. Daniel Snyder can be accused of many things, but being cheap isn’t one of them. You can bet he would be willing to top that Gruden deal with the Raiders in order to lure Tomlin to Washington. Don’t underestimate ego and legacy in this equation either. There are many players and coaches who have wanted to prove their worth by being successful again with another team. How many times do you think he has heard people say “he won the Super Bowl with Bill Cower’s team”?
Money, ego, and family are very powerful reasons for Mike Tomlin to want this job. Combine that with the likely huge haul the Steelers would get for trading Tomlin, and there’s at least enough here to get a conversation started. Like it or not there are motivations on all sides for this to happen. No one should be surprised if it does.