Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt has been an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate and one of the league’s most productive pass rushers each of the last two seasons.
He is due for a contract extensions as well, and as a result of all that production, Watt is in line to get paid.
Former sports agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry believes Watt will reset the market for edge rushers with his next deal, which could come sometime over the next month.
“Watt’s average yearly salary could be closer to the $30 million-per-year mark than Joey Bosa’s $27 million per year,” Corry writes. “Bosa’s salary guarantee marks are safe because Pittsburgh veteran contracts have a vanilla structure.”
Corry also forecasts Watt is in line for a record signing bonus as well.
“With the exception of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the only guaranteed money is a signing bonus,” Corry adds. “Roethlisberger’s guarantees have been for injury only. Pittsburgh sticking to its typical structure may make it necessary to give Watt a record signing bonus for a non-quarterback, which is currently $40 million by Rams interior defensive lineman Aaron Donald.”
Watt finished as the runner up for NFL Defensive Player of the Year a season ago, but does already have three consecutive Pro Bowl nods and back-to-back First-Team All-Pro selections on his résumé.
He led the league with 15 sacks and 23 tackles-for-loss in 2020. Watt also paced the NFL with eight forced fumbles in 2019.