The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of work left to do this offseason to get ready for the 2021 ready season. One of those things on the Steelers to-do list figures to be getting outside linebacker T.J. Watt signed to a very lucrative long-term contract extension sometime before Week 1 of the 2021 regular season. On Thursday, Steelers team president Art Rooney was asked during a question-and answer call with fans as part of the Steelers Nation Unite program about the team’s plans for watt and specifically if they have intentions of signing him long-term.
“We’re certainly going to try,” Rooney told the caller. “I think T.J. has another year on his contract and we certainly look at T.J. as a key player in the future.”
Watt had his 2021 fifth-year option picked up by the Steelers last offseason and that means the former first-round draft pick out of Wisconsin is scheduled to earn $10.089 million for the upcoming season. While Watt is indeed under contract for the 2021 season, odds are good he’ll get extended later this offseason as he deserves to get paid now instead of having to wait until a year from now or longer.
While Watt was very deserving to win the NFL’s annual Defensive Player of the Year award the last two seasons, he unfortunately didn’t. Even so, he is still on track to become the NFL’s highest paid defensive players come the start of the 2021 season. Watt’s new extension, assuming he gets one later this offseason, figures to have a new money average around $30 million per season. If he gets a five year-extension, the total of Watt’s new contract could be around $160 million.
Rooney’s Thursday words about possibly getting Watt signed long-term sooner rather than later seemed very reassuring.
“And I can assure you we’ll do everything we can to keep T.J. on the roster beyond this year,” Rooney said. “That that’s the goal.”