The always heavily opinionated Colin Cowherd of FS1 Sports is not very fond of the Steelers’ decision to make Minkah Fitzpatrick the highest-paid safety in the league. Fitzpatrick’s four-year contract extension that he signed on Wednesday is reportedly worth over $18.4 million per year, with $36 million guaranteed at signing.
“Minkah Fitzpatrick is now the highest-paid safety in the NFL in history. A position that doesn’t nor shouldn’t be paid a lot,” Cowherd said on The Herd on Thursday. “He’s a very good player, but everybody is like, ‘Yeah, got his money!’ And I thought, Pittsburgh is getting into an interesting place. They have a great history, but almost none of it in the last 12 years. Their biggest rivals in the AFC all have better quarterbacks now than they do, they have a defensive coach in clearly an offensive league, and after the Minkah Fitzpatrick signing, the Steelers now have the most expensive defense in the NFL, No. 1, and the least money in the NFL invested in offense, No. 32. … That ain’t great in 2022.”
The Steelers have made Minkah Fitzpatrick the highest-paid safety in NFL history…
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 16, 2022
While the Steelers are tied with the Patriots for having the most Super Bowl titles with six, they haven’t won a Super Bowl since the 2008 season. They also haven’t even won a playoff game in the last five years, which hasn’t happened for the Steelers since pre-1972.
“The standard in Pittsburgh used to be winning Super Bowls,” Cowherd said. “You know what they brag about now? Uh, Mike Tomlin’s never had a losing season. I mean, that’s not negative. But that’s something like the Browns would be happy with. I mean, seriously, take it to college football. Would Ohio State ever brag about, ‘You know, are coach has never had a losing season?’ It’s kind of the standard. I mean, when you’re in a division for years with the lowly Bengals and Browns, you should be 4-0 against those two.”
Historically, the Steelers are known for having a stellar defense, but that hasn’t been the case in recent years, especially when it comes to playoff performances. In the Steelers’ last four playoff games they’ve allowed 36, 45, 48 and 42 points.
“The last two playoff games Pittsburgh has been in they’ve trailed in both at one point by 28 points, four touchdowns,” Cowherd said. “I mean, I’m all for giving T.J. Watt as much as he wants. He is insane. And there’s a handful of defensive players. Aaron Donald, show him the bag. But a star safety? The Steelers defense last year was ranked 24th. Pass rush anchored by T.J. Watt, exceptional. But it was 24th. I’d scale back on the big raises for the defensive guys not named T.J. Watt.”
Cowherd, who is known for his analogies, sees similarities with the Steelers and the Seahawks.
“Again, what is the standard? I got nothing against Minkah Fitzpatrick. He’s a very good player, but they’re starting to feel like the Seahawks a little bit,” Cowherd said. “They don’t have nearly as good (of) a quarterback as other people in their division. Seattle doesn’t. I mean, what if Trey Lance is good? Then it’s (Matthew) Stafford, Kyler Murray and Trey Lance, and you (have) Drew Lock? Defensive coach like the Seahawks. Haven’t had any real success in a long time in the playoffs. And you pay a lot of money to safeties and your defense has been getting worse for years.”
Cowherd ended his segment by reiterating that he believes the standard in Pittsburgh has fallen off.
“The standard in Pittsburgh, I don’t know in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000s, my entire life was like Super Bowls, and not just getting to them,” Cowherd said. “I mean, ask yourself as a Steelers fan when they got to the Super Bowl and lost to Green Bay did you go out and party that night? Was that a big night for you in Pittsburgh? No, it’s your Steelers. Steelers don’t lose Super Bowls. They get to them against Arizona and win. They get to them all sorts of times with Terry Bradshaw and win. They got to one with Big Ben (against) Seattle and won.
“What’s the standard? I don’t know. It feels like to me a defensive coach. Thirty-second in offensive spending, first in defensive spending. That is not a place where I want to be in 2022 and going forward.”