In recent NFL history, the market for talented players in the secondary has been a hot button topic.
Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks used a specific number of fingers directed at his own bench to communicate his displeasure about not getting a new deal.
Thomas broke his leg early in the 2018 season and never received the lucrative long-term contract he felt he deserved as a result of the injury.
Former New York Jets safety Jamal Adams was equally as demonstrative in stating his worth to his former team, but they did not feel the price was worth it.
Since he was selected 11th overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 NFL Draft, Fitzpatrick has been nothing short of a difference-maker in the league.
He was part of an organizational fire sale by the Dolphins in 2019, despite showing tools on the field that were rare to find.
His level of anticipation and awareness has been on full display since arriving in Pittsburgh, and he’s turned into one of the best defensive players in the league.
Fitzpatrick has had nine interceptions and three recovered fumbles since joining the Steelers early in the 2019 season.
List of all DBs in 2020 with at least 4 INTs and a 50% Comp PCT when targeted…
End of list.
Probably best not to throw anywhere near Minkah 😅 pic.twitter.com/GHNVac1kgw
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) May 11, 2021
The former Alabama prospect has had a knack for making plays on the football, and will now enter an interesting time in his NFL shelf life.
We’ll make an estimate as to what type of contract Fitzpatrick might command, whether that’s in Pittsburgh or somewhere else.
Predicted Contract: 4 Year Extension, $66 Million Total Value, $40 Million Guaranteed
Fitzpatrick is under contract for another two seasons, as his fifth-year option was picked up by Pittsburgh for just over $10 million in 2022.
As a result, the Steelers don’t absolutely have to do anything in a panicked rush.
— Minkah Fitzpatrick (@minkfitz_21) April 27, 2021
However, there’s one factor looming that will undoubtedly affect the Fitzpatrick contract negotiations.
The Jets didn’t want to pay Jamal Adams the type of money he was seeking, so they sent him to Seattle.
As of right now, the Seahawks have yet to agree to an extension with Adams, either.
While this foot-dragging might be a continued stall tactic, it stands to reason that it will end at some point considering the draft capital Seattle parted ways with to acquire Adams.
Adams was drafted a year before Fitzpatrick, and his deal(Adams hopes) will reset the safety market.
Since contracts for elite players are benchmarked by the highest value precedent, it’s likely that whatever Adams gets will be the floor for Fitzpatrick’s compensation.
The safety pay scale was actually just reset this offseason when the Denver Broncos re-signed Justin Simmons for four years and $61 million, $35 million of which was guaranteed.
While Simmons is certainly an impressive player, he doesn’t quite have the cache that Adams or Fitzpatrick have.
Adams might reset the market at a couple million more than Simmons, and Fitzpatrick will likely top Adams by that same interval as well when his turn comes up.