Could the Washington Commanders go big fish hunting by trading for Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin once Ron Rivera departs?
The Washington Commanders are likely going to move on from head coach Ron Rivera once the final three games have been navigated. While the respected figure remains defiant in the face of significant adversity, all signs point to his stint with the organization concluding after four underwhelming years.
Attention turns to what comes next. Josh Harris' ownership group is looking to make a huge statement. Something that could lead the Commanders into attempting to acquire one of the biggest fishes around according to Albert Breer from Sports Illustrated.
Commanders touted as potential Mike Tomlin destination
The knowledgable insider named the Commanders as one potential team that could go after Mike Tomlin via trade if the Pittsburgh Steelers are receptive. A scenario Breer feels is more likely given how things are freefalling at the worst possible time.
"If Tomlin and the Rooneys aren’t going to have the conversation on their own, this would be the way to force it on everyone. Say Carolina’s David Tepper or Washington’s Josh Harris—both former minority owners in Pittsburgh—call Art Rooney and suggest a trade. Say they’re willing to part with a first-round pick and more. Say Rooney says he has to think about it, and then goes to Tomlin with the idea. Both owners would likely pay top dollar for him. And if you have that conversation, where does it go? I think it’s possible that conversation leads to the conclusion that, after 17 years, it’s simply time. Honestly, I wasn’t really thinking this way until a couple of weeks ago. But after the Cardinals, Patriots and Colts games, I’m starting to think it’s possible."- Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated
Tomlin is revered among NFL circles. He's never had a losing season. He's a supreme difference-maker and exceptional leader of men. His meticulous planning and ability to motivate cannot be overstated.
This is exactly the sort of move that would legitimize Harris' plans to bring the Commanders back to prominence. Parting ways with draft capital isn't ideal, but Washington is rich in assets thanks in no small part to trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the deadline.
Moving to the Commanders should intrigue Tomlin. He's a Virginia native, so it's closer to home. Washington could boast over $100 million to spend in free agency. They have some talented young pieces. They have ambitious owners. It's almost a blank canvas in one of the NFL's biggest markets.
The Steelers are extremely loyal when it comes to their head coaches, but everything has an expiry date. If they get an acceptable offer for Tomlin as Breer suggested, it could be the best possible solution for all parties.
There is palpable excitement about what's ahead for the Commanders. Harris and Magic Johnson have more influence than most first-time NFL owners. Any candidate of interest would likely jump at the chance to take on this exciting project. Much will also depend on what a new general manager thinks if Martin Mayhew is let go as expected.
If the move is to lure Tomlin from his glittering spell with the Steelers, it represents a major coup. One that would provide immediate belief better days are on the immediate horizon heading into the first full offseason without previous owner Dan Snyder in two decades.
Unlikely? Sure. But nothing should be off the table right now.