As the old saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Mike Tomlin took that literally on Monday.
The Steelers head coach faced the music initially with grace after Pittsburgh was eliminated from the 2024 NFL playoffs with a 32-17 loss to Buffalo. It marked the team’s fourth consecutive playoff loss, as the Steelers have not won a playoff game since 2016.
However, he undoubtedly was going to be asked about his future with the team. There have been rumblings throughout the latter portion of the season about Tomlin and the Steelers potentially parting ways. With the season coming to a close, it was natural for a reporter to bring up his future with the club to Tomlin.
Safe to say, the longtime Steelers coach wasn’t interested in having that conversation.
“Mike, you have a year left on your contract…”
Mike Tomlin: 💨 ✌🏽 pic.twitter.com/ouAncRXTzy
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 16, 2024
As soon as his contract was mentioned, Tomlin dipped out of the press conference, ending the postgame session early. He didn’t say a word, but his silence spoke volumes.
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Here is more on Tomlin’s contract and his future with the Steelers.
Mike Tomlin contract
Tomlin currently has one year left on his deal, meaning he is signed with the Steelers for the 2024 season.
However, just because he under contract does not mean that he is guaranteed to be the head coach of the team next year. Tomlin may elect to leave the organization, the Steelers could fire him or the two could mutually agree to part ways, similar to what the Patriots did with Bill Belichick, who was also signed for the 2024 season.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio noted ahead of Monday’s wild-card contest that Tomlin has never gone into a contract year. His previous extensions with the team have come with two years left on his deals.
Will the Steelers fire Mike Tomlin?
Since the latter part of the 2023 season, there have been rumblings that a split could be happening after the season. Now, all eyes are on Tomlin and the Steelers for the next move.
Florio reported that once the Steelers’ season is over, Tomlin is planning on assessing his situation. After that, he will then decide whether to continue coaching in Pittsburgh with an extension, see if he can join another team, or resign.
Florio reported the Steelers, for their part, wish to retain Tomlin and sign him to an extension.
“This year is a unique position for Mike Tomlin. For the first time ever, he’s entering the last year of his contract. Never done that before. Has some things to think about,” Florio said. “I’m told he is going to step back after the season ends, make a decision about his future with his family.
“He loves the team. He loves the young players that they have there. But, after the season, he’ll huddle with his family and make a decision about his future with the Steelers.”
Could another big-name head coach be on the move? Mike Tomlin will make a decision about his future after the season. More here: pic.twitter.com/kntpSjgjv8
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 13, 2024
If Tomlin decides he wants out, a trade could be in the cards for the Steelers. The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported back in December that there has “been chatter” that Pittsburgh would consider trading Tomlin in exchange for draft picks.
However, Tomlin could step away from coaching all together for the 2024 season. The Athletic reported on Monday there have been thoughts Tomlin might look for a break from coaching.
“Yeah, I’ve heard rumblings [of a change in coaching],” an NFL executive told The Athletic. “I don’t know what it is. It’s hard to be at the same place for 10 years. Belichick, if you break up his time with the Patriots, it is multiple 10-year runs. He basically reinvented everything after 10 years, became an offense-oriented team. I have no idea about Carroll or Tomlin, but sometimes things become stale and an organization needs a new voice.”
While the Pittsburgh locker room has had its issues throughout the seasons, veterans on the squad have voiced their support on Tomlin. Longtime defensive lineman Cam Heyward gave a blunt answer after the loss to the Bills on his thoughts about the Tomlin situation.
“I don’t want to play for any other coach,” Heyward said.
Like the rest of the NFL making head coaching changes, expect Tomlin and Pittsburgh to take a couple of days before any decision is made. However, if a coach of Tomlin’s caliber becomes available on the market, expect a long line of suitors lining up to ask about his services.