Is T.J. Watt sitting out of Steelers training camp essentially a holdout?
Is This another Le’Veon Bell Situation?
Honestly, as this story broke, it is not hard to imagine that the first thing fans thought of is another Le’Veon Bell situation, in which T.J. sits out all season. That said this situation although it has the same appearance, it is not entirely the same situation. But the situation has risks for both parties.
When Le’Veon sat out of the 2018 season, he wanted to be the highest-paid running back in the NFL, and the only leverage he had was to prove his point but not showing up at all. The Steelers, on the other hand, realized that at least for 2018, Bell was expendable and stuck to their guns about never renegotiating a contract during the season.
While one can argue how successful the Steelers were in their decision not to negotiate with Le’Veon Bell, the result was disastrous for Bell. Despite signing for Kansas City and the Jets, he is currently an unsigned free agent. One would think T.J. should be cautious in his demands as he puts his $10 million at risk by sitting out after pre-season.
Now whereas Le’Veon Bell was expendable, T.J. Watt is not. First, the Steelers lost Bud Dupree in the offseason, so they are short one edge rusher; if T.J. sits out, the Steelers are down to Devin Bush, Hightower, snd Spillane as their linebackers and no presence o the edge. That would hamstring their defense, hurt them in sacks and potential takeaways. It would cost the Steelers games and hamper a run at the Superbowl.
In this case, it would make sense for the Steelers to re-examine their position on contract extensions as it might make sense to broker a deal, and you have Watt locked up for at least another four or five years.