REPORT: Steelers making Watt the highest paid defender in the NFL


PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – JANUARY 10: T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts to a defensive stop during the second half of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field on January 10, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, Pa (WTAJ) — The NFL Network’s an Rapoport reports that the Steelers and outside linebacker TJ Watt have come to terms on a $112 million dollar deal, making him the highest paid NFL defender.

Rapoport says the deal is for four years, averaging $28 million-per-season. It comes with a guaranteed $80 million at signing, a sticking point that reports suggest slowed the process.

Watt had held out of team activates during training camp this summer, up until Wednesday. He drew loud support from many of his teammates including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who said express Wednesday that Watt should be paid whatever he wants.

“He’s arguably the best football player in the game right now, not just on defense, just in general,” he said. “One of the reasons I took less money was for guys like him to get paid, and he needs to get paid. He deserves every penny that he wants and asks for.”

Watt led the NFL in sacks in 2020 with 15, and has 49.5 sacks in four seasons. Watt was runner-up as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year the past two seasons.

Pittsburgh opens the season Sunday at Buffalo.

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