The old switcheroo? Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt sidestepped his agents and signed a massive new contract on Thursday.
T.J. Watt returns to Pittsburgh as the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. He now will earn $28 million per season.
Steelers’ OLB T.J. Watt overruled his agents who believed they could get more money today, marched into the office of Steelers president Art Rooney and told him they had a deal. Then the NFL’s new highest-paid defensive player excused himself and announced he had to go work out.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2021
According to ESPN, the outside linebacker signed a four-year contract extension worth $112 million. A source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that the deal included $80 million in guaranteed money. That significant cash is a Steelers record, according to a fan website.
Pittsburgh Steelers Star T.J. Watt Gets Deal Without Agents
But the real story could be the way T.J. Watt handled his agents to get the deal. Was it a stunt? Did his agents play along?
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter Tweeted that Watt’s agents were pushed aside like what Watt regularly does on the playing field. Moves like that don’t always produce results. Sometimes, agents “part ways” with their players.
Basically, T.J. Watt went to president Art Rooney’s office, said he was good with the offer on the table, excused himself, and went back to working out.
But, seemingly, it worked out for the better.
Recently, NBA star Dennis Schroeder suffered after he passed up on a bigger deal.
Schroeder reportedly turned down a four-year, $84 million contract extension with the Lakers. The Los Angeles team ended up getting superstar Russell Westbrook and Schroeder was out.
The player ended up in Boston on a one-year, $5.9 million deal last month. You have to wonder if this decision will stick with him.
Could T.J. Watt have Gotten More?
Last season, Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa landed a five-year, $135 million contract extension. That deal was good for $27 million per season with $102 million guaranteed.
Was it worth it for the Steelers to keep their star? Several teammates thought so. Shoot, star QB Ben Roethlisberger told the media that T.J. Watt should get “should get whatever he wants” because ‘he deserves every penny that he wants.”
Last season, T.J. Watt had a league-high 15 sacks, 27 quarterback hits, and 33 quarterback hurries.
Since 2018, only Rams defensive star Aaron Donald has had more sacks. Donald has 46.5 compared to Watt’s 42.5. Division rival Browns star Myles Garrett has 35.5, and the star’s last contract came with $100 million in guaranteed money.
Watt’s coach, Mike Tomlin, has lots of respect for the player. During the 2020 season, Tomlin was blown away by Watt’s talent, work habits, and mindset. The coach added those things make T.J. Watt part of the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.
“T.J. is visiting from another planet, being quite honest with you,” coach Mike Tomlin said about the defensive player.
One thing is for sure. Now, T.J. Watt can pay back his brother if there are any outstanding debts between the two.