Tomlin may be in line for a new contract
By Scott Brown
Saturday, March 24, 2012
» Steelers coach Mike Tomlin could be in line for another new contract. Tomlin has two years left on the contract he signed in 2010, though the final one is an option year. That means the Steelers could approach Tomlin about a new deal before the start of the season. "Our coach's contract is something we don't really try to speculate on what might happen," Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Tribune-Review on Friday. "We're obviously very happy with Mike and the job he's doing and we hope he's going to be here for the long term and I think I'm comfortable in saying that will be the case." Tomlin won a Super Bowl in his second season with the Steelers, and his .688 winning percentage (55-25) is the best in franchise history. Tomlin has guided the Steelers to three AFC North titles and four playoff appearances in five years.
» An offseason purge left the Steelers without two of their long-time captains in inside linebacker James Farrior and wide receiver Hines Ward. Rooney said other players will have to fill that leadership void this season. One could be quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whom Rooney already considers one of the Steelers' leaders. "He will be somebody that perhaps is looked to more now than in the past even, now that some of these other players have moved on," Rooney said. "Maybe that leadership role will grow as we move forward." Roethlisberger served as an offensive captain last season as well as in 2009.
» The Steelers have restructured a number of contracts, turning base salaries into signing bonuses. That provides short-term salary cap relief since the bonuses can be spread over the life of the contract. The moves have raised questions about whether the Steelers are simply delaying serious cap issues, though the cap number -- it is $120.6 million this year -- is expected to spike significantly in 2014 because of an infusion of TV money. "Not that we don't focus on future years because you have to at least be aware of moves you're making now that may affect future years," Rooney said, "but our priority at this point is making sure that we have a team that can compete for a championship year in and year out and that's what we're focused on this year."
Scott Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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