As reported today by Adam Schefter of ESPN, S Minkah Fitzpatrick has come to terms on a four-year contract extension with a new money average of $18.4 million per year. $36 million of that is guaranteed at signing, per the report, making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL history. As Dave Bryan has stated several times, Fitzpatrick’s extension likely would lower his 2022 cap hit by a few million, thus freeing up even more cap space for the Pittsburgh Steelers to get another contract extension done this offseason if they choose to do so.
The two obvious names that have been brought up along with Fitzpatrick as possible contract extension candidates this offseason are WR Diontae Johnson and K Chris Boswell. Much has been made about Johnson’s current contract situation and the thought that he is currently “unhappy” with the state of his current deal, seeing plenty of other WRs cash in this offseason. However, Johnson has taken a professional approach to the matter, showing up for OTAs and mandatory minicamp and conducting his business on the field while allowing the contract talks to play themselves out when the time comes.
As I highlighted in a previous post about Johnson and a potential contract extension, the Steelers find themselves in position to sign him to an extension if they so choose. They picked up a good chunk of change after the retirement of DL Stephon Tuitt, currently sitting at $20,325,877 under the cap, pending the signing of rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett and with the new Fitzpatrick contract to hit the books. The likely increase in cap space by signing Fitzpatrick only adds more room for Pittsburgh to negotiate a deal with Johnson if they think his market value and cost to retain him fit with their long-term plans.
While extending Fitzpatrick so early in the summer can potentially point to Pittsburgh being more open to try and get a deal done with Johnson prior to the start of the 2022 season, the same could be said for potentially ironing out a contract extension for K Chris Boswell. ST Coordinator Danny Smith also alluded to K Chris Boswell also likely getting a contract extension ‘at some point’. Many speculated that this could come right at the start of training camp, but given the timeframe of Fitzpatrick’s extension and how quickly Pittsburgh got that taken care of, who’s to say that The Boz doesn’t get his deal done in a similar fashion prior to the team reporting to Latrobe?
This raises the question: who of Diontae Johnson or Chris Boswell is the next to get extended by Pittsburgh? Prior to the Minkah extension, I would have sided with Boswell, given the almost certainty from Danny Smith that a deal will get done sometime soon. However, as mentioned about in a tweet by Dave Bryan, Pittsburgh getting the Minkah extension done in such a timely matter gives them plenty of time to negotiate a deal with Johnson prior to training camp or at the start of camp if they so choose.
Given that Minkah Fitzpatrick was priority number one for the Steelers to take care of, and has now been signed, sealed, and delivered, it will be interesting to see if they keep the trend going and re-sign another one of their one prior to training camp and who it may be.
Who do you think the Pittsburgh Steelers will re-sign next: Diontae Johnson or Chris Boswell? What is your reasoning? Do you think they will get an extension done with either or both prior to training camp? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!