The Pittsburgh Steelers picked up the fifth-year option on safety Minkah Fitzpatrick last offseason and now the team plans to sign the player they traded for a few years ago to a lucrative contract extension at some point during this offseason.
On Friday, Steelers team president Art Rooney II was asked about the possibility of an offseason contract extension for Fitzpatrick during his one-on-one interview with Missi Matthews of steelers.com.
“Yes, we would like to extend Minkah’s contract this offseason, and so that’ll be an important piece of business that hopefully we can get done before the season starts,” Rooney told Matthews.
As things stand currently, Fitzpatrick, who arrived in Pittsburgh via a trade with the Miami Dolphins a few weeks into the 2019 regular season, is scheduled to earn $10.612 million in 2022 as a result of the team picking up the fifth-round option on his rookie contract last offseason. It’s also a good bet that Fitzpatrick will be looking to become the highest paid safety in the NFL this offseason. Currently, that distinction goes to Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, who has a new money average of $17.5 million.
This past season, Fitzpatrick showed he was much more than just a coverage safety as the Alabama product led the Steelers in total tackles with 124. He also chipped in two interceptions, seven defensed passes, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery during the regular season.
While the Steelers certainly hope to get Fitzpatrick extended this offseason, they probably won’t be in any kind of rush to get the deal done. In fact, the contract extension negotiations with Fitzpatrick and his representation probably won’t heat up until after the Steelers report to training camp. Fitzpatrick might also keep himself real limited in training camp as well until he gets his extension signed.
Just last summer, the Steelers went through a similar process with outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who ultimately became the highest paid defensive player in the NFL just prior to the regular season getting underway. Watt was extremely limited last year during training camp while waiting to get his contract extension worked out.