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T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers Agree on 4-Year, $112 Million Extension with $80 Million Guaranteed : NFL : Sports World News



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T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers Agree on 4-Year, $112 Million Extension with $80 Million Guaranteed

PITTSBURGH, PA – T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during training camp at the Heinz Field on July 28, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo : Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Pittsburgh Steelers fans heaved a huge sigh of relief after outside linebacker T.J. Watt finally agreed to a massive four-year, $112 million extension. The deal, which includes $80 million in full guarantees, means that Watt will be seeing action for the Steelers this coming Sunday for their Week 1 clash against the Buffalo Bills.

According to ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, Watt took matters into his own hands regarding his protracted contract negotiations, which lasted throughout training camp and into the opening week of the 2021 regular season.

Watt overruled his agents to get the deal done

The 26-year-old decided to overrule his agents, who wanted him to demand more money from the Steelers. Upon learning Pittsburgh’s new offer, Watt marched into the office of Steelers president Art Rooney II and told him they had a deal.

After sealing the deal with Rooney II, Watt went on to excuse himself and announced he had to work out with the team. That decision by Watt will further endear himself to the Steelers faithful, who have been stung before by the team’s failed contract negotiations with their former franchise player.

In 2017, Le’Veon Bell’s agent agreed to a contract with the Steelers for his client, who was just given the franchise tag at that time. The opposite happened then as Bell was the one who decided to reject the offer after the said agreement, eventually turning the deal down that led to his departure from Pittsburgh.

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Watt becomes NFL’s highest-paid defensive player

Watt had every reason to accept the Steelers’ offer as he is getting paid a lot with his new deal. Watt will become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player, with his new contract averaging an annual value of $28 million per season.

That value trumps the previous record set by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa with his current contract. Bosa signed a monster five-year, $135 million extension in 2020, netting an average annual salary of $27 million from the Chargers.

Watt’s contract also outpaces the deal signed by Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack in 2018. Mack’s deal averaged $23.5 million annually as he netted a six-year, $141 million contract.

Watt’s guaranteed money, however, falls short of the ones made by Bosa and Mack with their deals. Watt got $80 million in guaranteed money with his new deal, well behind Bosa’s $102 million and Mack’s 90 million in guarantees.

That may have been the sticking point for Watt’s agents, but the two-time Defensive Player of the Year finalist believed that was more than enough for him, as the guaranteed money he got from Pittsburgh was the highest the Steelers have given to one of their players in franchise history.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the most guaranteed money given by the Steelers on a contract was to Ben Roethlisberger, who netted $67.5 million guaranteed in his current deal.

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