Watt has been a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber player each of the past three seasons and wants to be paid as such. Unfortunately for Watt, the Steelers haven’t been willing to change their traditional approach.
Pittsburgh generally doesn’t offer guaranteed money after the first year of the contract. For a player of Watt’s caliber, that’s just not acceptable.
Despite not signing a new deal just yet, ESPN’s Steelers reporter Brooke Pryor revealed that Watt returned to practice on Wednesday and was a full participant.
TJ Watt was back at practice today, fully participating. And yes, that includes the team period.
Joe Schobert, a fellow Wisconsinite, said it was great to be out there with Watt again.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 8, 2021
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger thinks it’s time to pay the man.
“I think T.J. should get whatever the heck he wants,” Big Ben told reporters on Wednesday. “He’s arguably the best football player in the game right now, not just on defense but in general.”
Big Ben made it clear he turned down money just so his teammates – like Watt – can get paid.
“I’ve been through a few negotiations here with contracts and one of the reasons I took less money was so that guys like him could get paid,” Roethlisberger continued. “He needs to get paid. He deserves every penny that he wants and asks for. T.J. Watt is that guy that should get whatever he wants.”
Pittsburgh’s season kicks off on Sunday afternoon with a contest against the Buffalo Bills.