It takes two to tango. But if Kevin Colbert gets his wish, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have T.J. Watt locked up long-term by the end of this summer. Though an obvious statement to make, Colbert said the organization’s intent is to get a deal done with Watt before the start of the 2021 season.
He joined 93.7 The Fan with Ron Cook and Joe Starkey to talk about the looming extension with Watt.
“Art commented on that and we usually don’t talk about individual negotiations,” Colbert told the show. “But Art’s addressed it and T.J. certainly has addressed it with his play. T.J. Watt is a special player at his position and really on the defensive side of the football in the National Football League. So T.J.’s a significant player. Art has made that a designation that it will be a priority.”
It’s priority #1 for good reason. Watt is on the short-list of best defensive players in football. Assuming a contract extension gets done, he’ll almost certainly become the highest-paid defensive player in football. That top spot currently belongs to Los Angeles Charges’ pass rusher Joey Bosa, signing a deal worth an average of $27 million per season last year. Watt’s number should top that, and could even hit $30 million. If he reaches that number, he’ll crack the top-10 of highest-paid players in the NFL, offense or defense, joining a laundry list of quarterbacks.
As Colbert said, Watt’s payday is well-deserved. After being drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft, Watt has been a terror for opposing quarterbacks. In four years, he’s already racked up 49.5 sacks with 17 forced fumbles and 59 tackles for loss. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro, and on a legitimate Hall of Fame path. He may only be five years away from breaking James Harrison’s franchise sack record, too.
There’s every reason to believe Watt will want to get a new deal done. But Colbert did caution this is a negotiation, and nothing is done until it’s done.
“Whether we can do anything or not, it always takes two to be able to do that. But I’m sure that will be our intention.”
Pittsburgh doesn’t discuss contract extensions once the season begins. So the two sides will have until right around the start of September to hammer something out. Though there’s been rumors the team’s already begun talking to Watt’s team, we’ve been told those reports are false and talks have yet to begin. Those discussions won’t begin until the summer which is standard for the organization.