Reports are starting to trickle down the pipeline that the Steelers and T.J. Watt are reaching a conclusion on his drawn out contract negotiation. Media close to the situation are beginning to say the deal will be done some time after the Carolina Panthers Week 3 preseason game, and the deal will surpass Joey Bosa’s $27 million as the league’s highest paid defensive player. While many are excited that a Top 3 defensive player in the league is about to sign long term with the Steelers, others are questioning the supposed deal.
The most common slander toward Watt is that he isn't worth $30 million per year, but as the NFL’s reigning sack leader, and as the game’s premier outside linebacker, that is exactly the going rate. If the Steelers were to let one of the game’s best and respected players walk away it would also leave a terrible impression amongst all NFL players. Letting someone of Watt’s caliber just leave your team would put a wedge between organization and player trust, because if they wouldn't be loyal to one of the best players in the league, why would they be loyal to you.
Now that the preseason is almost over, expect T.J. Watt to sign a contract extension shortly after the Carolina game that will make him the league's highest-paid defensive player.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) August 23, 2021
Another common complaint about this deal is ‘the Steelers don't give anyone guaranteed money’. While this is technically true, a deal of this magnitude for a premier player at a premier position would be a non-starter if it didn't include guaranteed money. This doesn't change the Steelers’ stance on guaranteed money with other players either. Kevin Colbert can simply acknowledge that Watt’s deal is one of the biggest in the league, and unless said player he’s negotiating with is in that tier the Steelers simply don’t do business like that.
Another complaint I’ve seen far too much are people claiming you could replace T.J. Watt for half the cost. If this actually were possible wouldn't the other 32 teams in the NFL have amazing edge rushers? That’s exactly what I thought.
The final storyline people have been throwing around is that you shouldn't spend $30 million on a player that isn't a quarterback. While I can appreciate the sentiment, aren't the Steelers in the perfect situation to do this? The team only has $4 million in salary space tied up at QB next year, and if they were to draft a rookie that player will be on his rookie deal for 5 years. Most likely how long Watt’s contract will run. Plus, by the time this deal runs out the NFL’s salary cap is going to skyrocket. This is quite possibly the best time for the Steelers to re-up an expensive edge rusher, and you would be hard pressed to find a better time to do so.
But what do you think? What will the parameters of T.J. Watt’s contract look like? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.