Report: Minkah Fitzpatrick's 5th-Year Contract Option Exercised by Steelers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) lines up during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers exercised the fifth-year option in Minkah Fitzpatrick's rookie contract, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

Minkah Fitzpatrick @minkfitz_21

Blessings🙏🏾 https://t.co/rt9QPl07Wf

Fitzpatrick is now due to earn $10.6 million in 2022 before becoming eligible for free agency.

Teams have until Monday to either trigger or decline their club options for players who were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.

Extending Fitzpatrick for another season was a no-brainer for Pittsburgh after he was an All-Pro for the second straight year. He finished 2020 with 74 tackles, 11 pass breakups, four interceptions—one of which went for a touchdown—and one forced fumble.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Minkah Fitzpatrick pick-six off Baker 😳 (via @steelers) https://t.co/fTV09yqQML

Unlike Fitzpatrick, the Steelers haven't made a final decision about Terrell Edmunds, who hasn't yet produced the same level of success as his fellow safety. Edmunds' 2022 salary ($6.8 million) would be lower, but perhaps Pittsburgh believes that still doesn't represent good value for the money at the moment.

The move wouldn't be unprecedented, with the Steelers declining the fifth-year options for Jarvis Jones and Artie Burns.

With Fitzpatrick, the only drama is whether he and the team hammer out a long-term extension before the 2023 offseason.

Denver Broncos star Justin Simmons is the NFL's highest-paid safety at $15.3 million annually. Jamal Adams is poised to top that number, be it from the Seattle Seahawks or somebody else in 2022.

Assuming the Seahawks don't use the franchise tag on Adams, his next deal would give the Steelers an idea of the price to keep Fitzpatrick around.