PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn’t mince words when asked about the ongoing contact discussions between the team and star linebacker T.J. Watt.
Roethlisberger said the Steelers should pay Watt “whatever the heck he wants,” to make sure that the 26-year-old star of the Pittsburgh defense is in Black and Gold for the forseeable future.
“He’s arguably the best football player in the game right now,” Roethlisberger said. “Not just on defense, but in general. I’ve been through a few negotiations here with contracts. One of the reasons I took less money is for guys like to him to get paid. He needs to get paid. He deserves every penny that he wants and asks for. T.J. Watt is that guy that should get whatever he wants.”
Watt has not yet participated in team practice sessions, something that Roethlisberger said the rest of the locker room has been understanding of, despite the fact that Watt was not voted a team captain this year, as he was in 2020.
“We all feel bad for T.J.,” Roethlisberger said. “He was here every single day and he didn’t need to be, working, busting his butt. He should get taken care of.”
The Steelers coaching staff has been unusually conciliatory toward Watt’s “hold-in” stance of only participating in individual drills to this point. That could change if Watt does not participate in Wednesday’s first team practice session of game week.