The Pittsburgh Steelers’ embarrassing 24-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday has brought on calls from some parts of the team’s fanbase to fire head coach Mike Tomlin.
One long-time Steelers insider suggested a different approach. Ed Bouchette, the longtime Steelers beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Athletic, said that the Steelers should look into trading their 17-year veteran coach instead.
“Those who want to see the Steelers fire Mike Tomlin are short-sighted,” Bouchette wrote on X on Monday. “If they really wanted to move on they can TRADE him. He has value.”
Bouchette went on to list the Washington Commanders as a potential landing spot for Tomlin. Tomlin has been connected to the Washington job in then past. Tomlin, a Hampton, Virginia native, grew up a fan of the Washington Redskins. Additionally, new Washington owner Josh Harris was former a Steelers minority owner.
Ron Rivera is the Commanders head coach, but he is holdover from before Harris’ ownership of the team and the tenure of general manager Martin Mayhem. The Commanders are 4-9 and in last place in the NFC East.
Washington Commanders? https://t.co/qH9X5INOQh
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) December 4, 2023
Two head coaches have already been fired: John McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders and Frank Reich of the Carolina Panthers. Panthers owner David Tepper is another former Steelers minority owner.
NFL head coaches are traded somewhat infrequently, but it’s not unheard of. Seven NFL coaches have been traded in the last 25 years, with a wide variety of compensation in return.
In 1997, Bill Parcells netted a first, second, third and fourth round picks along with $300,000 in his trade from the New England Patriots to then New York Jets. Mike Holmgren got the Green Bay Packer just a second-round pick when he went to the Seattle Seahawks in 1999.
The most recent trade came just this past offseason, when the New Orleans Saints traded Sean Payton to the Denver Broncos. Denver sent first and second-round picks to New Orleans and got a third-rounder along with Payton.
Tomlin has a contract with the Steelers that runs through the end of the 2024 season. They would have to trade him this coming offseason if they wanted to do so.
It seems far-fetched that the Steelers would choose to move on from Tomlin in that fashion, but when a veteran and well-connected insider brings it up as a possibility, it probably shouldn’t be discounted outright.