After months of speculation, the Pittsburgh Steelers have made the mega contract extension with All-Pro linebacker T.J. Watt official. The reports circulated Thursday of the 4-year contract extension given to Watt, but the organization made the deal official Friday prior to the team’s Week 1 game with the Buffalo Bills.
We have signed LB T.J. Watt to a new five-year contract. @BordasLaw— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 10, 2021
Whether it be a “new” five-year deal or a four-year extension above the $10.089 Watt was due for 2021 is not overly significant if simply thinking of most of Watt’s 2021 salary being converted into a signing bonus. Classifying the deal as the “new money” over the additional four years is what makes T.J. Watt the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.
Pen to paper ✍️ pic.twitter.com/bVJXJJuSSw— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 10, 2021
While many in Steelers’ Nation were rejoicing over keeping Watt, the exact breakdown of the contract is something which many were curious about.
Apparently, Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com had an inside source for the numbers of Watt’s contract. Here’s how the contract breaks down according to Florio:
PFT has obtained the full details regarding the Watt deal. Here they are, per a source with knowledge of them.
1. Signing Bonus: $35.0 million.
2. 2021 Base Salary: $1.0 million, fully guaranteed.
3. 2022 Base Salary: $24.0 million, fully guaranteed.
4. 2023 Base Salary: $20.0 million, fully guaranteed.
5. 2024 Base Salary: $21.05 million.
6. 2025 Base Salary: $21.05 million.
The deal averages $28 million per year in new money, $1 million more than the previous high-water mark set by Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa. It also becomes the largest full guarantee for a defensive player in NFL history, at $80 million.
If adding up these numbers, the total comes to $122.1 million over the next five years. This works out exactly as expected from the report where the extension was worth just over $112 million and the fact Watt was due $10.089 million this season.
For more details on the financial contract for both sides, check the link below.
With the contract now in the rear view mirror, the Steelers can now turn their full attention to the Bills in the season opener in Week 1. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for their regular season debut.