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Around the AFC North: Mike Tomlin Agrees to Three-Year Extension

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin

In a profession where job security is difficult, Mike Tomlin continues to thrive.

Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2027, the team announced Monday.

Entering his 18th season, Tomlin is the NFL's longest-tenured head coach. He started one year before Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.

The 52-year-old Tomlin won Super Bowl XLIII at 36 years old while in his second season and has led Pittsburgh to the playoffs 11 times, including three of the last four years. They haven't won a playoff game since the 2016 season, however. Tomlin has never had a losing season and has a 173-100 career regular-season record.

Tomlin was entering the final year of his contract until Monday's extension was announced.

"I am appreciative for this contract extension and thankful for Art Rooney II for his support during my first 17 years in Pittsburgh," Tomlin said via Teresa Varley of the team's website. "We are continuing to work diligently to get back to where we belong – sustained playoff success with the ultimate goal of winning the franchise's seventh Lombardi Trophy.

"I am very excited to get the 2024 season underway and provide our fans with a memorable year."

Cleveland Browns: How Good Will Deshaun Watson Look?

Deshaun Watson only played six games last season and required season-ending surgery on his throwing arm after injuring it against the Ravens.

Since signing a five-year, $230 million contract with the Browns in 2022, Watson has missed 23 games due to injury or suspension and has not been nearly the quarterback he was during his four seasons with the Houston Texas.

Pro Football Focus has named Watson one of the 10 NFL players with the most to prove in 2024, and's Nick Shook listed him as one of 10 make-or-break candidates.

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski remains confident in his starting quarterback.

"We always talk about how we want the best version of ourselves. I want the best version of Deshaun," Stefanski said on “The Rich Eisen Show.” "He is constantly getting better. I see so many of the veterans ... every single year you challenge them to get better. Even the guys who are at the height of their craft.

"Look at Myles Garrett, who is coming off being Defensive Player of the Year. He will be challenged … and I know he does this to himself. He needs to get better, and there are things he can do to get better. I know Deshaun is in the same boat, he wants to be better, he wants to play better, every single game, every single year. ... I'm excited for where he is right this minute with plenty of work to do. I know he's going to continue to get better and get healthy. But I'm excited about Deshaun."

Cincinnati Bengals: What's the Status of Negotiations With Ja'Marr Chase Entering Minicamp?

The Bengals will hold their mandatory minicamp this week, and the contract status of star wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase remains a hot topic.

Chase is looking for a massive deal after averaging 1,239 yards receiving in his first three seasons. Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson re-set the bar for top wide receivers after signing a four-year, $140 million extension with the Minnesota Vikings last week.

It remains to be seen if Chase will participate in mandatory minicamp, but Head Coach Zac Taylor said he and Chase are in a good place.

"I've talked with Ja'Marr," Taylor said, via WCPO and Pro Football Talk. "I won't get into our conversations, but we've had great dialogue."

Chase has been a Pro Bowler in all three seasons and is coming off a career-high 100 receptions last year. The Bengals placed the franchise tag on No. 2 wide receiver Tee Higgins this offseason when they were unable to reach a long-term agreement with him. Higgins is the only one of nine players who received franchise/transition tags in 2024 who hasn't been inked to a long-term extension.

Re-signing Chase is viewed as the Bengals' top priority at this point, and Jefferson's deal may have increased what it will take to sign Chase. Taylor recognizes that Chase is in excellent bargaining position.

"It's a good time to be a receiver," Taylor said.

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