T.J. Watt is an outside linebacker who plays for the NFL team Pittsburgh Steelers. Watt has been a defensive powerhouse ever since he joined the NFL and was awarded the NFL Defensive Player of the Year honour in 2021. With a ripped physique, T.J. Watt is a formidable opponent to attackers and currently holds the NFL record for most sacks in a season (22.5), tied with Michael Strahan.
T.J. Watt Early Life and Background
T.J Watt was born in Pewaukee, Wisconsin to Connie Watt and John Watt. He has two older brothers, J.J. Watt and Derek Watt, who also play in the NFL. He attended Pewaukee High School and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin. He suffered a knee injury in 2014 and could not play any games until the middle of 2015. Since he started playing for Wisconsin Badgers, he transitioned to a dependable linebacker and led the Big Ten Conference in sacks. He recorded 59 total tackles and 11.5 sacks in 2016. Watt was named in the First-Team All-Big-Ten. Watt did not finish his senior season at college to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Watt majored in retailing and consumer behaviour.
Who drafted T.J. Watt?
Watt attended Wisconsin’s Pro-Day and also completed drills for the NFL Combine. He was rated as one of the best linebackers’ picks for the 2017 NFL Draft. Watt was drafted in Round 1 of the 2017 Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was overall pick number 30. Notable players from the 2017 NFL Draft class include quarterback Patrick Mahomes, quarterback Deshaun Watson, defensive end Myles Garrett, and running back Alvin Kamara.
T.J. Watt’s NFL Journey
Watt signed a four-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017 after being selected in the draft. He competed for the starting right outside linebacker position with James Harrison in the preseason. Watt was selected to be the starting right outside linebacker for the Steelers and his debut game in the regular season was against the Cleveland Browns. In the 21-18 win, Watt made 2 sacks, 7 combined tackles and 1 interception. His rookie season ended with a playoff berth for the Steelers and 40 solo tackles, 7 pass deflections, 7 sacks and 1 interception. He started 15 games in his rookie season.
Watts continued his strong performances for the Steelers in the 2018 season and was ranked #93 in the Top 100 NFL Players of 2019. By the end of the 2019 season, T.J. Watts had established himself as one of the best pass-rushers in the league. He tallied an AFC high of 14.5 sacks and 8 forced fumbles. He was selected in the All-Pro first team as an edge rusher and the All-Pro second team as a linebacker.
The Steelers exercised the 5th year option on his contract in 2020. He finished the 2020 regular season leading the league in sacks (15), tackles for loss (23) and quarterback hits (41). The Steelers made it to the Playoffs but lost in the Divisional Round.
Watts became the highest-paid defensive player of the league in 2021 after signing a four-year deal with the Steelers, worth $112 million with an $80 million guarantee. He finished the regular season as NFL Defensive Player of the Year, leading the league in sacks (22.5), tackles for loss (21), and quarterback hits (39).
T.J. Watt’s Teams
Pittsburgh Steelers (2017-Present)
Ever since being drafted by the Steelers in 2017, Watt was one of the best defensive players in the league. Watt was also the first rookie after Aaron Jones who started as a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the starting outside linebacker for the Steelers ever since his rookie season and was also named in the PWFA All-Rookie Team. Watts has been named thrice in the All-Pro First Team and made it to 4 Pro-Bowls as a Steelers Player. He helped the Steelers to 3 NFL Playoffs but failed to make it to any Super Bowl or Conference Championship to date. He is one of the best Steelers players in recent years and is also joined in the team by his older brother Derek, who plays as a fullback.
T.J. Watt Awards and Honours
NFL Defensive Player of the Year
All-Pro First Team
All-Pro Second Team
Deacon Jones Award
NFL Forced Fumble Co-Leader
PWFA All-Rookie Team
First-Team All-Big-Ten (college)
T.J. Watt NFL Records
Tied for most sacks (22.5) in an NFL season (with Michael Strahan)
Tied for most seasons leading the league in sacks (2)
Tied for most consecutive seasons leading the league in sacks (2 with Mark Gastineau and Reggie White)
T.J. Watt Net Worth
Watt’s net worth is estimated to be around $10 million. His net worth will increase drastically by the end of his current Steelers contract which has made him the highest-paid NFL defensive player. He is slated to receive a guaranteed $80 million from the deal. He also receives money for endorsement deals with Reebok and Six Start Pro-Nutrition.
T.J. Watt’s Family
The Watt family is tied with the NFL as his two elder brothers both play in the NFL. Derek Watt is a fullback and his teammate at the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2020. His other brother J.J. Watt plays as a defensive end for the Houston Texans.
T.J. Watt is engaged to be married to American professional soccer star Dani Rhodes. She plays as a forward for the club Úrvalsdeild kvenna club Þróttur Reykjavík. She played college soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.