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Is it time for Steelers, Mike Tomlin to go their separate ways?

Whenever the Steelers hit a rough patch, a chunk of the team’s fanbase begins to clamor for a coaching change. Amid the team’s current struggles, featuring history-making home losses against a pair of two-win teams, the noise has returned.

And it’s perhaps louder than ever.

Would the Steelers move on from Mike Tomlin? With three coaches since 1969, it’s not their way. With Tomlin having no losing seasons in his first 16 years on the job, it’s inconceivable to believe the Steelers would push Tomlin out if they fail to make the playoffs and fail to finish at or above .500.

That doesn’t mean it’s not time for a change. The question becomes whether Tomlin might think it’s time to leave. He’s got one year left on his contract. He could finish it out and become a free agent; that’s something few NFL coaches ever do. He also could resign, sit out a year, and come back to a new team in 2025 (with compensation to Pittsburgh).

Or the Steelers could essentially trade Tomlin after the coming season.

At a time when there’s plenty of speculation as to whether another team might try to make a move to hire Patriots coach Bill Belichick (with or without compensation), why not call the Steelers regarding Tomlin?

Between the two coaches, Tomlin arguably would be more desirable. He’s 20 years younger, which means he’d have much longer potential tenure as the coach than Belichick.

And Tomlin has done very well. Sure, it’s been 15 years since his only Super Bowl win. Yeah, the Steelers haven’t won a playoff game since 2016. Regardless, plenty of teams have done a lot worse than the Steelers over the past 17 years.

Continuous relevance, for owners, is far more important than a once-per-generation Super Bowl run. The teams that contend each and every year sell all of their tickets — and they see those tickets actually used. Which means more overpriced drinks, hot dogs, and other stuff being sold on game day. More prime-time games. And, as a result, a lot more money.

Look at the teams that could be looking for new coaches. Think of what Tomlin could do for the Commanders, the Chargers, the Bears, or the Buccaneers.

Again, this isn’t about whether the Steelers would fire him. This is about whether Tomlin would be ready and willing to move on. And it’s about whether the Steelers would make a reasonable request for compensation, given that Tomlin needs only to coach one more year before securing the ability to go wherever he chooses as the rarest of NFL commodities.

A head-coaching free agent.