Contract talks between the Pittsburgh Steelers and superstar pass rusher T.J. Watt has been dragging on for months. Those months quickly turned to weeks, and now we are sitting on ‘days’ to get a deal done, and while the Steelers have got up until the final second before kickoff in Buffalo, time is passing by quickly and the stalemate needs to come to an end. When to comes too keeping a player like Watt around long term, you can quickly draw up a long list of positives. Below are some of the biggest reasons for the club to get a deal done with their All-Pro player.
1. You can't let your best player walk away
The optics of letting your best player walks away, are bad. Quite frankly it can shatter the moral of a locker room and lead to more top players wanting out. We saw this go down recently in New York with the Jets. After Jamal Adams requested and was granted a trade a lot of the other top Jets players also wanted out.
Imagine letting T.J. walk, it wouldn't exactly be a ringing endorsement to Minkah Fitzpatrick who is also looking to become the top paid player in his position next year. Letting Watt walk could create a snowball effect that could gut the entire roster.
2. You can afford QB money to a non-QB
Let’s be real here, the Steelers don't have any money tied up into their quarterback position in 2022. Even if Roethlisberger re-ups next year it would be for considerably less than what he is being paid currently and it would only be a short-term deal. If the Steelers go to the draft for a quarterback they would have 4-5 years of a rookie contract, which should follow Watt’s extension perfectly.
This is the perfect time for the Steelers to have an expensive defender come up for a new contract. This is a deal you would want to do regardless, but the Steelers are perfectly situated to get a deal like this done now.
3. Edge defenders are a premium position
Edge rushers affect games, period. This is a position good teams have good/great players in. Having a bad pass rush typically also means you have a bad team. Getting after the oppositions quarterback will directly relate to the final scores of games and not only did Watt lead the league in sacks, but is consistently putting pressure on the quarterback. He’s one of, if not the best, edge rusher in football and keeping that guy in Pittsburgh makes the Steelers a better team.
3A. You can't lose Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt in consecutive offseason's
Let’s not forget the Steelers already lost a great edge rusher in Bud Dupree. Losing both of those guys in consecutive offseason’s is bad management. You either keep Dupree for $17 million per year or you make Watt the highest paid defender, there is no in-between. The Steelers always have a plan (that's why management hasn't changed in this century) so letting Dupree walk screams to me they are going to extend Watt. Getting cold feet now would be a massive mistake.
4. Losing him makes the Steelers worse - A lot worse
T.J. Watt forces teams to game plan strictly for him. Whether it’s double teams or running the ball away from him, he is the Steelers most important player on defense (if not the team). Letting this guy go would spread the opposition around the Steelers defense and would let them meticulously pick them apart. Simply keeping Watt would stop this from happening.
But what do you think? Will the Steelers and T.J. Watt come to an agreement on a deal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.