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Madden Ratings for Top-10 Steelers Leaked

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Overall ratings for the ten highest-rated players on each team in the upcoming Madden 21 video game have been leaked, courtesy of Madden School, a website dedicated to fans of the popular franchise.

While Steelers fans will be happy to view the ratings earlier than expected, many are struggling to see how the numbers add up.

Guard David DeCastro comes in as the highest-rated Steeler at 91 overall, followed closely by defensive end Cam Heyward at 90. They are surprisingly the only teammates in the above 90 overall.

Still, the biggest snub of the ratings has to be outside linebacker T.J. Watt — arguably the Steelers’ best player — who received a rating of just 86. Watt earned First-Team All-Pro honors and finished third in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. He was named the league’s best edge rusher by CBS Sports just three weeks ago.

Watt appears to be using his rating as motivation.

Watt is not the only criminally-underrated Pittsburgh defender in this year’s game, as the argument can be made that safety Minkah Fitzpatrick’s overall is also to low. Fitzpatrick was also a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2019, and projects to be one this year as well. The Alabama-product was a game changer in 14 games with the Steelers last season, picking off five passes and scoring two defensive touchdowns.

The ratings do show some love towards defensive end Stephon Tuitt at 87, who played just six games last season after suffering a torn pectoral.

Notable Steelers absent from the top-10 include running back James Conner, cornerback Steven Nelson and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

While Roethlisberger is coming off a serious injury and entering his 17th season, it is hard to believe that Madden giving him a rating below 80, especially when he was an 85 at the launch of last year’s version of the game.

Nelson’s absence is also a headscratcher, considering he turned into a shutdown corner for the Steelers last season. He was named one of the league’s best in man coverage last season by Pro Football Focus.

Nelson took to Twitter on Monday, admitting he stopped paying attention to Madden ratings a long time ago, while his partner Joe Haden offered some words of encouragement.

Although video game ratings do not hold much value in the grand scheme of things, they should provide some extra motivation this season for Steelers team that returns its franchise quarterback and of the league’s best defensive units.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a list of Steelers ratings from Madden 2020.

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J.J. Watt is Signing with the Arizona Cardinals

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The weeks of waiting and theatrics are over. Free agent defensive end J.J. Watt is signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

Watt broke the news himself on Monday afternoon, tweeting a picture of himself squatting in a Cardinals t-shirt.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Watt is signing a two-year, $31 million deal with Arizona, $23 million of which will be guaranteed.

Watt joining the Cardinals comes as somewhat of a surprise, as reporting over recent weeks had suggested the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns were the last favorites standing.

Still, Watt’s former Houston Texans teammate and current Cardinals wide receiver Deandre Hopkins was actively recruiting the star defensive end to Arizona just two weeks ago.

“Let’s finish what we started,” Hopkins said in an Instagram post picturing the two embracing with Watt Photoshopped into a Cardinals jersey.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the early favorites to land Watt, reuniting him with his brothers T.J. and Derek, but the clubs financials made the most virtually impossible to compete with an offer like Arizona’s.

The Cardinals now own one of the league’s fiercest defensive fronts, pairing Watt alongside elite edge rusher Chandler Jones, who has 97 career sacks.

Arizona already had the fourth-most sacks in football last season with 48.

Watt departed Houston as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, named First-Team All-Pro on five occasions and earned three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.

A future Hall of Famer, Watt is the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles-for-loss (172) and forced fumbles (25).

Watt recorded 52 total tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown in 2020.

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NFL Insider John Clayton: Steelers Out of Running for J.J. Watt

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One of the league’s most prominent insiders believes the Steelers are out of the running for free agent defensive end J.J. Watt.

Joining The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan on Wednesday, NFL insider John Clayton said Watt will not be joining his brothers T.J. and Derek in Pittsburgh.

Clayton sees the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills as the favorites to land Watt’s services.

For a potential dark horse, Clayton says the Las Vegas Raiders as an outside-the-box candidate to sign the veteran pass rusher.

Watt leaves Houston as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, named First-Team All-Pro on five occasions and earned three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.

A future Hall of Famer, Watt is the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles-for-loss (172) and forced fumbles (25).

Watt recorded 52 total tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown in 2020.

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NFL Hosting Women’s Careers in Football Forum

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The NFL is hosting its fifth annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum from Feb. 24-25, the league announced in a press release Tuesday.

The event will be held virtually and “connect 40 women, 75% of whom are women of color, with leaders in professional football to help those women network and build relationships in the areas of coaching, scouting and football operations.”

Those participating in the event will join panel discussions, breakout sessions and have networking opportunities with industry leaders, such as head coaches and team executives. All portions of the event are aimed at building connections that will result in hirings and subsequent representation.

Since its inception in 2017, the two-day event has assisted in developing “a more diverse talent pipeline by connecting high-potential women to career opportunities in football.” According to the league, 118 opportunities for women in football have been created as a result.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and wife Jane Skinner Goodell will speak, as well as NFL Chief Football Administrative Officer Dawn Aponte. In addition, three owners, seven head coaches and six general managers will also join the conversation.

Sarah Thomas made history earlier this month becoming the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. The champion Tamp Bay Buccaneers also had a record number of women on their coaching staff this past season.

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