To absolutely nobody’s surprise at all, the Pittsburgh Steelers officially picked up the fifth-year option on outside linebacker T.J. Watt earlier this week. When that news surfaced, however, we didn’t have an exact amount to assign to Watt’s 2021 option year. As of Thursday morning, we now have that amount.
According to former NFL agent Joel Corry of CBS Sports, Watt’s fifth-year option amount for 2021 will be $10.089 million, which is the average of the third through 25th-highest salaries the linebacker position. Also, Watt’s fifth-year is now guaranteed for injury only and it will become fully guaranteed on the first day of the league, which wuill be sometime in mid-March 2021.
Watt, who was selected 30th overall by the Steelers in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin, is currently scheduled to earn a base salary of $1,727,565 in 2020 as part of his rookie contract. While the Steelers could ultimately decide to sign Watt to a long-term contract extension this offseason, odds are good that they will wait until next summer to do so.
Not surprisingly, Corry projects that Watt will sign an extension with the Steelers at some point before the end of the 2021 season that could exceed $20 million per year.
In his first the seasons in the NFL as a member of the Steelers, Watt has registered 177 total tackles, 34.5 sacks, 18 defensed passes, three interceptions and 15 forced fumbles.