The Steelers aren’t going to let their best player hit the market, but here’s how much it will cost to keep T.J. Watt around after the recent Joey Bosa deal.
Prior to defensive players receiving massive contracts this offseason, I would have thought that the Steelers may have been able to get T.J. Watt for a reasonable deal on his second contract. that no longer seems to be the case.
Though Watt’s most recent play was at a Defensive Player of the Year level, that will soon be reflected in his next contract. Recently, Myles Garrett received a 5-year $125 million extension by the Cleveland Browns – making him the richest edge defender in the league. But if you thought that his contract wouldn’t reset the market, guess again.
Not weeks after Garrett signed his lucrative new deal, Los Angeles Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa leapfrogged him as the highest-paid edge defender in the NFL. Though Bosa has yet to make a first-team All-Pro during his first four seasons in the league, it didn’t stop him from reaching some record-setting numbers. According to Adam Schefter, Bosa’s new deal will net him $135 million over the next 5 years with a whopping $102 million guaranteed:
Chargers and DE Joey Bosa reached agreement on a 5-year, $135 million extension that ties him to LA the next six years, league sources tell ESPN. He had $78M fully guaranteed at signing and $102M guaranteed – a new NFL defensive record.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 29, 2020
What Bosa’s deal means for the Steelers and T.J. Watt
Joey Bosa’s new contract sets a record for the most guaranteed money ever given to a defensive player in the NFL. Unfortunately, with the way these contracts are going, there’s no reason to believe that T.J. Watt will earn anything less.
Watt has been arguably more impressive of the two players early in his career, and his agent surely knowns that. With his reputation and eye-popping numbers through his first three seasons in the league, we could be looking at a player who will be earning $27-30 million per year in the near future with at least $100 million guaranteed.
Obviously, if Watt comes back down to earth a bit in 2020 or if a major injury occurs, we could be looking at numbers that don’t quite reach Myles Garrett or Joey Bosa’s status. However, if he takes yet another leap forward, there’s no telling what he will be able to make.
Clearly, we would love to have Watt sign for a team-friendly deal, but that fact that we are talking about giving him so much money on his next deal is just more proof that he is one of the best young defenders in the league.
I don’t say this about everybody, but Watt is a player the Steelers should more-or-less give a blank check to. His impact in Pittsburgh has transformed this defense into one of the best units in the NFL, and he stands to be one of the most important defenders in the league for years to come.