There used to be a time when news about the NFL was given to us largely on the Six O’Clock news or in our local newspaper. Today things are a bit… different. Not only does news fly at the speed of light on social media but so to does news that our current President might refer to as “fake.” I’m not suggesting that CBS’ Jason LaCanfora’s earlier tweet is fake but I think it deserves some discussion. First of all, here’s the tweet in question.
I firmly believe that Dan Snyder's primary objective in his next coaching hire will be to find a way to acquire Mike Tomlin from the Steelers. We'll see how feasible that may be
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 7, 2019
Understand first that LaCanfora is a Baltimore guy. According to my geography skills, this is fairly close to Dan Snyder in Washington. Also understand that LaCanfora has typically been ‘pro-Ravens’ when it comes to anything related to our Steelers so I’ll leave it at that. But let’s say this really does have legs and at season’s end the a deal is made. What might the ramifications be?
The Actual Trade
I’ve seen all kinds of speculation about what trading for Mike Tomlin would bring so let’s go back to the best possible examples of this which were Jon Gruden’s trade from Oakland to Tampa Bay back in 2002 and the Patriots’ trading for Bill Belichick in 2000. The Bucs made a deal that included Tampa Bay’s 2002 and 2003 first-round draft picks, 2002 and 2004 second-round draft picks, and $8 million in cash. Keep in mind that this was before Gruden had won anything more than a division title. Belichick’s “trade” was actually agreed upon after Bill Parcells and the Jets claimed he was under contract with them. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said a first rounder would be ample compensation. Again, at this point, Belichick had never won anything as a head coach.
Therefore, what would Tomlin garner? He has been to two Super Bowls with one victory. He’s never finished below .500 and is routinely first or second in the AFC North. Would the Steelers be in a position to demand similar compensation as to what the Raiders received for Gruden? He’d easily get more than what the Pats paid for Belichick right? My guess is that it would have to be pretty close. The Steelers would immediately recoup that first round pick traded to Miami and add on quite a bit more.
Why It Works for Tomlin
Tomlin is originally from Hampton, Virginia which is extremely close to Washington D.C. Perhaps just as importantly is the fact that Tomlin’s son Dino is a freshman football player at the University of Maryland. This would also be quite approximate for Tomlin’s travels.
If you look at the roster, it ranks right in the middle in terms of average age of the 32 NFL teams. This would give Tomlin a chance to do some overhauling of his own and a chance to foster a new era with a young quarterback in Dwayne Haskins. Potentially, he would also be allowed to hire his own coordinators and assistants.
I’ve defended Mike Tomlin for a long time but by the end of last year it was becoming harder and harder to do so and once I saw the egg we laid on opening night in New England I was convinced change is needed. I don’t need to lay out the litany of reasons why because most of you already know them. If Dan Snyder called and offered the Steelers a first round draft pick in 2020 I wouldn’t say “no.”
I do believe the Steelers would be well within their rights to ask for more based on what I explained above but if Snyder ultimately said “take the one or leave it” I’d take it. This would likely mean the end of the Big Ben era in Pittsburgh too. After all, would a 38-year old with a repaired elbow really want to start over so close to the end of his career? I guess it would depend on who came in and what his idea for the offense was.
Regardless, if this story has legs and it comes to fruition, I don’t know how you turn it down.