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ESPN predicts the Steelers have just one offseason move left, to sign T.J. Watt

Could the Pittsburgh Steelers lock up T.J. Watt before the start of the 2021 regular season?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is the unit they will be hanging their hat on in 2021 as they hope to get back to the postseason and make some noise. On the defensive side of the ball, no player is more dominant than T.J. Watt. With Watt being in the midst of his 5th year option, many fans are wondering if the Steelers might extend Watt now, rather than waiting to after the season and possibly having to pay even more for his services.

When you look at the overall situation for the Steelers entering the 2021 regular season, Watt is a priority in every way, but mainly as a cornerstone of the team’s defense. Watt is a transcendent player, and the Steelers will do whatever they can to lock him up for the long haul.

In fact, when ESPN suggested one last move all 32 teams should do before the end of the offseason, extending Watt was their pick for the Steelers. See what they said about the decision:

Extend edge rusher T.J. Watt

The Steelers are set to enter 2022 with a boatload of cap space, quite the difference from the tightrope they had to walk this offseason. One way or another, Watt will be a Steeler next year, but extending him now is in line with how the organization has gone about its ways.

Watt is one of the five or so best defensive players in football and worth whatever contract he is paid. He’s that good. Pittsburgh has other notable free agents next year, including wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and it’s never too early to get to work on key business.

At mandatory minicamp Watt refused to answer questions surrounding his contract, rather suggesting he would leave that up to the Steelers and his representation. Instead, he wants to focus on his own game entering the 2021 regular season.

“I just want to be the best possible player I can be, not just for myself but for the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Watt. “I want to make splash plays. The big thing for me is noticing the plays I didn’t make last year, wishing I could have converted on some forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, sacks, tackles for a loss. There is a lot of good from last year, but there is a lot of stuff I can continue to improve on. That is why I love this game so much. You are never at your ceiling.”

If you are like me, you know deep down a deal will get done between Watt and the Steelers. The question isn’t if, but when. The Steelers would most likely love to get a deal done before the 2021 regular season, but if not you can expect a maximum deal for Watt making him one of the highest paid defenders in the NFL. It just feels like a matter of time...

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.