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ESPN Projects T.J. Watt To ‘Reset’ EDGE Market With Contract Extension

At this point in the offseason, the talk of the T.J. Watt extension — which includes the size of the extension, when the extension will land, and the impact on the Steelers moving forward financially — has become exhausting.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to pay Watt close to $30 million a year to ensure he’s around a long time and is paid like the best EDGE in the NFL, which he is. The talk of the extension being a foolish one due to paying a non-QB that much money in the salary cap era is insane, yet that continues to be a debate among Steelers fans as the franchise gears up to pay one of the faces of the franchise this worth.

The extension will happen soon, but speculation remains, and on Wednesday ESPN’s Dan Graziano projected Watt to be one of the market-setting contracts across the NFL, joining names like Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis and Chicago linebackers Darius Leonard and Roquan Smith, Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams, and Seattle and Cincinnati safeties Jamal Adams and Jessie Bates.

“With 42.5 sacks over the past three seasons, including an NFL-leading 15 in 2020, Watt has surely outperformed the $10.089 million he’s scheduled to earn on his fifth-year option this year,” Graziano writes. “The Steelers aren’t about to risk losing him, even with cap issues of their own and fellow defensive star Minkah Fitzpatrick also in line for a new deal. Is it possible that Watt challenges Joey Bosa’s $27 million-a-year figure and further narrows the salary gap between the league’s highest-paid pass-rushers and its highest-paid passers?”

Graziano comes in a bit low on Watt’s projection, and should instead be asking if Watt will eclipse $30 million, rather than somehow challenging Joey Bosa’s $27 million a year, which is a foregone conclusion. The only question remains is if Watt gets to $30 million because there is no doubt that when Watt puts pen to paper on the extension with Pittsburgh, he will instantly become the highest-paid EDGE defender in football.

While speculation continues to run rampant, Watt has done a great job putting a kibosh on the contract talks outside of the facility, stating to the media in his initial press conference at training camp that he would not be commenting on any contract-related topics, instead focusing on football and the season ahead.

“I love Pittsburgh. Obviously, I would love to be here,” Watt said on Thursday. “All those decisions aren’t really mine to be made. So, I’m just here right now trying to get better each and every day.”

Something big will happen soon with Watt, but for now, let’s just focus on football. The two sides will get a deal done, and Watt will be a Steeler for a long time.

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