There’s no question T.J. Watt will get paid for his next contract extension, one that’s likely to occur later this summer. The only question is exactly how “mega” his mega-deal will be. NFL.com’s taking a crack at their projection, believing his floor is $27 million annually.
“The edge-rusher market saw both Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett sign deals worth $25 million-plus per season in 2020. Watt’s older brother, J.J. Watt, had his time as the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player in 2014 when he signed a six-year, $100 million extension with the Texans in 2014. (J.J., 32, was released by Houston and signed with Arizona this offseason.) Little brother will be cashing bigger checks soon.”
Last year, Bosa topped Garrett to become the league’s highest-paid defensive player at $27 million per season. Watt is likely to top both of their names, even in a year where the salary cap has constricted so much. This projection falls in line with Bleacher Report’s prediction and our own writing. Here’s what Dave Bryan wrote about the situation last month.
“Personally, I’m expecting Watt’s new deal to have a new money average somewhere between $28-$30 million and for his new 2021 cap charge to remain unchanged, or very close to it.”
In just four years, Watt has racked up 49.5 sacks with 17 forced fumbles and a whopping 59 tackles for loss. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. Though he’s still just 26 years old, he’s on a strong track to make the Hall of Fame. And has even greater odds of becoming the Steelers’ all-time official sack leader. He needs just 31.5 to replace James Harrison at the top of the leaderboard.
Kevin Colbert recently confirmed the team has every intention to get a deal done before the start of the season. But don’t expect Pittsburgh to announce an extension tomorrow. The team usually waits until into training camp to finalize negotiations — Troy Polamalu famously signed his as he was boarding a plane for Week 1. It’ll still take a couple months but a deal is highly likely to get done before the Steelers travel to Buffalo in the opener. When it does, Watt is all but assured of becoming the highest-paid defender in NFL history.