The Pittsburgh Steelers and T.J. Watt are working on a contract extension that will make him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. Watt is scheduled to receive his new contract after the Steelers' preseason finale on Friday.
T.J. Watt has been the backbone of the Steelers defense in recent years. He'll now get his long-awaited contract extension for his services. The question has come up: Does T.J. Watt deserve to be the highest-paid defender in the NFL?
Will T.J. Watt live up to the massive extension he's set to receive?
Now that T.J. Watt is getting his well-deserved extension, the Steelers' defense looks better than ever. There was a time when the Steelers fan base didn't think this day would come. Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review caught up with Steelers president Art Rooney about T.J. Watt's extension. He said:
"I try not to get optimistic or pessimistic. I've seen these things go so many different ways over the years. We're just going to do our best. Both sides want to get something done, so that is a good thing."
It's easy to understand why the Steelers fan base was slightly worried about Watt's extension after Rooney's answer. After T.J. Watt signs his name on the dotted line, questions will surface about whether he can live up to his deal.
Over four years, T.J. Watt has been selected to two All-Pro teams and three Pro Bowls. He was also named to the 2017 NFL All-Rookie team. Watt didn't walk through the NFL door during his rookie season. He kicked it in.
T.J. Watt registered 40 solo tackles, ten tackles for loss, seven sacks and an interception during his rookie season. He's followed that production with three straight seasons with double-digit sacks.
The former Wisconsin Badger is coming off a 2020 season where he led the NFL in sacks and tackles for loss. Watt registered 23 tackles for loss and 15 sacks during the 2020 season. Many fans feel he was snubbed on the Defensive Player of the Year award.
That brings us back to our original question. Can T.J. Watt live up to the massive extension he's about to receive? Watt can easily live up to his new deal by looking at his stats over the last four years.
To say the Steelers are making a significant decision is an understatement. T.J. Watt enters his fifth year in the NFL with 230 total tackles, 111 quarterback hits, 59 tackles for loss, 49.5 sacks, 25 pass breakups, 17 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and four interceptions. Pittsburgh's fan base can look forward to Watt pressuring quarterbacks in a Steelers uniform for years to come.