RUMOR: One key factor could ‘sink’ Steelers-TJ Watt extension talks
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ own tradition could doom them in their attempts to keep TJ Watt.
As Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network mentioned, the Steelers have a tradition not to offer a full guarantee beyond the first year of a veteran’s contract. However, Watt wants that additional guarantee aside from a significant pay raise.
Obviously, the disconnect between the Steelers’ informal and unofficial rule and Watt’s contract demands is causing the delay of an extension, despite previous reports that they were close to reaching a new contract. Kinkhabwala even noted she is no longer as “optimistic” as before that the negotiations between the two sides will progress.
The #Steelers’ commitment to one main tradition -refusing to offer full guarantees beyond Year One- is threatening to sink these TJ Watt negotiations. Source had me optimistic last week that things were close. After convo w folks close to contract talks just now, I’m not as much.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 7, 2021
According to recent reports, TJ Watt is looking to be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL that will see his current $10 million salary increase to around $27 million per year. As mentioned, though, he is aiming to get more guaranteed years in his contract–something that the Steelers obviously are not a fan of despite valuing the 26-year-old so high.
Head coach Mike Tomlin is optimistic that the Steelers and Watt will find a way to struck a new deal before the season starts. Nonetheless, the linebacker’s status to play in Week 1 for the team remains in doubt, especially since he hasn’t practiced with the team amid the contract dispute.
Watt has been doing individual drills with the Steelers, but he opted not to join the team practices throughout training camp in a bid to hasten his contract negotiations.