T.J. Watt landed a massive contract extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday afternoon, making him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. He’ll now be able to end his dispute with the organization and get back on the field, possibly even in time for the season opener this weekend.
Later on Thursday, new details emerged on the conclusion of Watt’s negotiations that perfectly sum up just how eager he was to rejoin the Steelers.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the All-Pro “overruled” his agents and went straight to team president Art Rooney to agree to the extension. Right after he signed on the dotted line, Watt reportedly excused himself so that he could go workout.
“Steelers’ OLB T.J. Watt overruled his agents who believed they could get more money today, marched into the office of Steelers president Art Rooney and told him they had a deal,” Schefter wrote on Twitter. “Then the NFL’s new highest-paid defensive player excused himself and announced he had to go work out.”
Something about this report seems to perfectly sum up who Watt is as a football player and competitor. Hopefully he had a great workout after walking away from the negotiating table with a whole lot more cash to his name.
Steelers’ OLB T.J. Watt overruled his agents who believed they could get more money today, marched into the office of Steelers president Art Rooney and told him they had a deal. Then the NFL’s new highest-paid defensive player excused himself and announced he had to go work out.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2021
Watt signed a historic four-year extension on Thursday worth more than $112 million, with $80 million guaranteed. On average, he’ll earn $28.003 million per year, making him the highest paid defensive player by a decent margin.
The 26-year-old pass-rusher might’ve cost a pretty penny, but he’s worth every cent. In 2020, he nearly won Defensive Player of the Year when he led the league in sacks (15.0), tackles-for-loss (23) and quarterback hits (41). The performance marked his third consecutive year with double-digit sacks and continued what’s been a stellar four seasons in Pittsburgh.
Most importantly for the Steelers, the signed contract extension means that Watt can suit up for the 2021 season. It’s unclear if he’ll be ready to play in Pittsburgh’s Week 1 match-up this Sunday, but he should be ready to anchor the defense throughout the rest of the year.