Steelers Aiming to Extend T.J. Watt's Contract Before 2021 Season, Art Rooney II Says

Adam WellsAugust 4, 2021

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 29:  T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during training camp at Heinz Field on July 29, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

With T.J. Watt heading into the final season of his rookie deal, his contract status has been a major talking point for the Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the offseason. 

Steelers president Art Rooney II told reporters Tuesday that "the goal" is to get an extension with Watt done before the start of the regular season in September. 

Even though Steelers players reported to camp July 21, Watt hasn't been an active participant in practice. 

NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported on Inside Training Camp (h/t Nick Kosko of 247Sports) that Watt "is not going to participate in team drills and put himself at risk of being injured, until that (contract extension) is indeed signed."

General manager Kevin Colbert denied that Watt was sitting out of team drills because of his contract situation. 

Mike Prisuta @DVEMike

3. GM Colbert on whether OLB Watt might be skipping 11-on-11 work until contract extension finalized: β€œNo, I think Coach (Tomlin), with this extra week, he’s being very diligent about trying to make sure we see those new people, get those new people extra reps. We know the vets.”

Watt is set to earn $10.1 million in base salary this season. The 26-year-old certainly warrants a lucrative new contract based on his performance over the past four seasons. 

Per Spotrac, Los Angeles Chargers star Joey Bosa is the highest-paid edge-rusher by average annual value ($27 million) and guaranteed money at signing ($78 million).

Khalil Mack's $141 million deal with the Chicago Bears is the richest contract in total value signed by an edge-rusher. 

Drafted No. 30 overall by the Steelers in 2017, Watt has recorded 111 quarterback hits and 49.5 sacks in 62 career games. He led the NFL with 23 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in 2020. 

Pittsburgh will open the regular season Sept. 12 against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium.