Steelers insider: Mike Tomlin ‘trying to gain leverage’ with organization

It wasn’t all that long ago that rumors were running rampant that the 2023 season could be Mike Tomlin’s last as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But after his squad put together a three-game winning streak and squeaked into the playoffs to close things out, all is right with the world. As expected, he came out unscathed on Black Monday.

Last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported what’s likely unfounded “news” that Tomlin could potentially step down after Pittsburgh’s season ends.

That, of course, brought fans to question whether there was any validity to the report.

Steelers insider, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly, reported that, if anything, Tomlin is looking for leverage within the organization for his own future.

Tomlin is heading into his 18th season as head coach of one of the most storied sports franchises. It will also be the final year of his contract, which currently pays him handsomely at $12.5 million annually, according to Sportico.

But his salary doesn’t reflect all his success — two stabs at a Lombardi Trophy with one win and 17 non-losing seasons.

He’s just the sixth-highest-paid coach in the league behind Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, Pete Caroll, Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan.

“Tomlin isn’t the highest-paid coach in the league and probably should be near the top,” Kaboly wrote in his recent mailbag. “This is how I read this: He wants to stay with the Steelers but is trying to gain some leverage to get paid more.”

Speculation is that Tomlin’s contract will be extended this offseason, indicating he’ll be at the negotiating table with Art Rooney II in the coming months. The Rooney family has never spent big money to keep anyone, including coaches. And that frivolity could be what’s keeping elite staff away from Pittsburgh. If Tomlin wants to stick around — and why wouldn’t he — he may fight to be compensated at a higher rate.

But don’t expect that Tomlin will choose to leave the team.

“Nothing in my mind and bones believes that Tomlin wants to step away from the team just like Sean Payton did a couple of years ago with the Saints,” wrote Kaboly. “No way. Never. Not happening.”

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire