PITTSBURGH — T.J. Watt is in Pittsburgh, choosing to attend the Steelers’ three-day mandatory minicamp, despite not having a contract beyond the end of the 2021 season.
But as far as details of that contract negotiation, Watt is staying mum, declining to speak about any progress or lack thereof in communications between his representatives and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert.
“With respect to the process, I’m not going to be talking about any contract stuff today,” Watt said on Tuesday morning before the start of practices.
Watt is set to earn just over $10 million in 2021 while playing under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. He’ll become a free agent for the first time next March if he and the team don’t agree to an extension between now and then.
Steelers president Art Rooney II said in March that the Steelers will try to keep Watt in Pittsburgh long-term.
“We certainly look at T.J. as a key player in the future,” Rooney said. “I can assure you we’ll do everything we can to keep T.J. on the roster beyond this year. That is the goal.”
While the Steelers are in a salary cap crunch for the 2021 season, they have among the fewest salary cap commitments for the 2022 season, making it possible that the team could retain Watt, along with other players that are set to become free agents like safety Terrell Edmunds and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.