As expected would be the case all offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers have now made outside linebacker T.J. Watt the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL as of Thursday night.
According to a Thursday report by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Watt, the Steelers’ first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin, will sign a four-year extension that should have a new money average of around $28 million. The deal reportedly has $80 million fully guaranteed.
Watt, who had the fifth-year option of his rookie contract picked up by the Steelers in April of 2020, was previously scheduled to earn $10.089 million in 2021 before signing his lucrative extension.
In his first four NFL seasons, Watt registered 230 regular season tackles to go along with 49.5 sacks, 59 tackles for loss, 111 quarterback hits, 17 forced fumbles, four interceptions and 25 passes defensed. The last two seasons he’s been a legitimate candidate to win the annual NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Entering Thursday, Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa was the NFL’s highest paid defensive player with a new money average of $27 million. That deal that he signed more than a month prior to the 2020 regular season getting underway included $78 million fully guaranteed and $102 million in injury guarantees.
Watt’s newly signed extension runs through the 2025 season.