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Steelers Analysis

Nick Bosa Contract Smashes T.J. Watt Deal



Steelers Nick Bosa 49ers

Nick Bosa and his deal details are officially in, and it crushed T.J. Watt’s deal on every metric. From guaranteed money to overall money to average per year, Bosa’s contract shatters Watt’s previously record breaking deal. That could have some reverberating effects across the edge rusher market given the amount of elite edge rusher contracts on tap.

Bosa’s deal will be worth $170 million, with $122.5 million in guaranteed money, and will pay him an average annual value of $34 million, which will make him the highest-paid defensive player and the highest-paid non-quarterback in all of football.

Bosa’s deal will eclipse the $33.5 million per season that Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald earns as the highest-paid defender. So, Watt had been the highest-paid edge rusher at just over $28 million per year, and Bosa shattered it.

Of that guaranteed salary, $88 million of it is fully guaranteed, eclipsing Watt’s mark of $80 million fully guaranteed. It’s something to note when Watt goes back to the negotiating table. And that could be sooner than you think. With guys like Brian Burns and Micah Parsons sets to get paid soon, Watt could be pushed into a situation where a raise makes sense given his elite level of play. Soon enough, that deal will look like a bargain. Now, the Steelers will have every incentive to give him that raise when it comes. Nick Bosa just set the market to the point where those top defensive players will now look to reset the market if they are near Bosa and Watt’s level.

Yet, the deal for the 49ers is still cap friendly enough to where they have some flexibility to restructure deals and move numbers around. Unlike the Steelers, they added a void year to the end of the contract, with the contract being backloaded to allow for some more flexibility in the short term.

Watt set the edge rusher market in motion back in 2021, and now the circle of motion might come back to him when it’s time for him to back to the table. Right now, his cap hits over the next few years grow, and a more rich extension could give the Steelers more flexibility at some point beyond 2025 when they could  gear up for offensive contracts like George Pickens, Kenny Pickett, and others in the future.

It’s impressive that Bosa ended up getting the deal he did and shattering Donald’s mark on top of it. Because now it means interior defensive linemen and edge rushers at that level should see their number go above that $34 million a year that Bosa received.

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