The Pittsburgh Steelers have been without star pass-rusher T.J. Watt throughout the preseason as he awaits a hefty contract extension offer from the organization. After being a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year two seasons in a row, the 26-year-old is in line for a big payday.
Based on a new report, Steelers fans shouldn’t have to wait that much longer to see Watt back on the field.
According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Watt is expected to sign a new contract extension shortly after the Steelers third and final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. Dulac indicates that the three-time Pro Bowler will ink a deal that will make him the highest-paid defensive player in the league.
That would mean the Steelers new contract for Watt would top Joey Bosa’s annual average salary of $27 million a year. That’s certainly no small number from a former late first-round pick out of Wisconsin.
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
Based on his performance over the last few years, Watt is more than deserving of the massive new deal. In 2020, he racked up 53 total tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and two forced fumbles, which was nearly enough to win him Defensive Player of the Year.
Steelers leadership has maintained throughout the summer that Watt will get paid for his impressive play since arriving in Pittsburgh in 2017. Owner Art Rooney had mentioned many times before that he wanted to get a contract extension in place before the start of the 2021 season.
“We’d like to get T.J.’s deal done, if we can, before the start of the season,” Rooney said, via Steelers.com. “That’s the goal. I don’t like to get into those details in terms of the discussions, but we’re going to try to get it done by the start of the season if we can.”
Based on Dulac’s latest report, Rooney will get his wish and Watt will get his payday. All that’s left to do, is for the 26-year-old to put pen to paper.