Minkah Fitzpatrick was phenomenal in his first season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s why his contract is considered the best on the team.
It’s not often that a team is able to trade for a player who would be a first-team All-Pro at the age of 22. However, that’s exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers did when they traded for Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
While many trade situations including trading for a player who will soon be due a massive contract extension, this one does not. In fact, Minkah’s contract is every bit as good as he is.
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report recently wrote an article on the best-value contracts for each team in the NFL. Fitzpatrick was the hands-down favorite for the Steelers. Here’s some of what he had to say:
"T.J. Watt has emerged as a potential NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate while still on his rookie contract. Cornerback Mike Hilton has been excellent as an undrafted gem. Both deserve some attention, but the impact Minkah Fitzpatrick created upon his arrival from the Miami Dolphins can’t be duplicated… The fact Fitzpatrick still has three controllable years, including his fifth-year rookie option, makes his contract so appealing. Pittsburgh doesn’t have to worry about an extension until after the 2022 campaign. Over the next two seasons, the ’18 11th overall pick has salary-cap hits of $2 million and $2.7 million, respectively."
Though T.J. Watt’s and Mike Hilton’s contracts were briefly considered, it’s hard not to choose Fitzpatrick as the best contract on the team. Despite being just one of two safeties to earn first-team All-Pro honors in 2019, Fitzpatrick is set to earn just $1.9 million in 2020, according to Over the Cap, and is just the 15th highest-paid player on the Steelers.
On top of this, Fitzpatrick still has two incredibly cheap years left on his rookie deal in addition to the fifth-year option. In total, the Steelers may not have to get a long-term extension done with Minkah for another three years.
Obviously, the star safety has already outplayed his contract, and it’s entirely possible that he could want to be paid before his rookie deal is up. If that’s the case, the Steelers will have to decide how to approach the situation. We have already seen it boil over with Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams – who not only wants a new deal but wants out of New York altogether. Clearly, we hope it never comes to this with Fitzpatrick and the Steelers.
Just like T.J. Watt, we know that if Fitzpatrick keeps up the pace, he will be one of the highest-paid players at his position in the league. For now, however, we can take comfort in the fact that the Steelers have one of the best contracts in all of the NFL.