The Pittsburgh Steelers have a history of being shrewd when it comes to contract extensions.
That is why the focus was on the franchise this week regarding T.J. Watt.
He needed a new deal to avoid free agency in 2022 and some thought the team may stick to their tradition of not handing out guaranteed deals.
Well, they sure bucked that trend.
The Steelers and Watt came together on a record-setting extension that should make both sides happy.
Sources: The #Steelers and star pass-rusher TJ Watt have a mega-deal. He’s going to sign a 4-year extension worth more than $112M — $28.003M average per year — with $80M fully guaranteed at signing. The highest paid defensive player in football. 💰 💰 💰
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 9, 2021
This is a fortune, but Watt may have even earned more on the open market.
Focusing On Football
Watt was not holding out, but he was limited in terms of full participation this preseason.
He wanted a record deal and got it and an ESPN story by Brooke Pryor explains how the deal got done.
“Watt overruled his agents who believed they could get more money on Thursday, marching into the office of Steelers president Art Rooney II and telling him they had a deal, according to Schefter. Watt then excused himself and announced he had to go work out, Schefter reports.”
This sounds like quite the dramatic way to go about business and almost seems like it is out of a movie.
But Watt realized he was getting record money and told his agents to be happy with that.
His agents could either agree or find a new client.
Watt now has his major extension and can get back to focusing on football.
This may be the final year of Ben Roethlisberger, making it even more important to avoid any possible distractions that may arise.
Yet these negotiations still never reached the level of ultimate drama or any holdout.
Perhaps both sides knew something would get done, even if they made it interesting.
A Change In Operations
It appears the Steelers have joined the modern NFL with this contract.
If it’s ok with Yinz, I’d like to stay a while!! LETS GO PITTSBURGH!!!! pic.twitter.com/itjnF7XNLd
— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) September 9, 2021
Having an elite talent like Watt helped show the front office, and ownership for that matter, that star players will gladly take more money elsewhere if it is offered.
Players like Watt are not easily replaceable and letting him go could be a similar situation to what the Raiders did with Khalil Mack.
They traded him to Chicago, only to reportedly try to get him back this year.
A star talent on the roster is better than an unknown in the draft and Steelers fans should be thrilled with this news.
It’s adapt or die in the NFL and the Steelers now have a star defender locked in for the end of the Roethlisberger era and for the beginning of a new one.