With T.J. Watt’s contract negotiations over and accomplished with, it’s time to look forward on the subsequent Pittsburgh Steelers participant in line for a mega-deal, All-Professional security Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Realizing that he’ll be in Watt’s cleats… ahem, footwear… before later, Fitzpatrick mentioned the scenario had his consideration.
“I’m speaking to [Watt], simply getting a really feel for a way the group goes about it,” Fitzpatrick shared in a September 9 press conference, simply hours earlier than Watt and the Steelers got here to an settlement.
The Steelers exercised Fitzpatrick’s fifth-year option this spring, which is able to make him the highest-paid security of the 2018 NFL draft class at $10.612 million (per OverTheCap) in 2022. Fitzpatrick’s wage this season is $2.723. Each years are a totally assured wage.
Within the 2020 offseason, Watt additionally had his fifth-year exercised, which he was scheduled to play on paying a cool $10 million for the 2021 season. When the Steelers signed him to a brand new contract on September 10, the phrases of the fifth yr adjusted to $1 million. Oh, and let’s not overlook in regards to the hefty $35 million signing bonus (per OverTheCap).
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Fitzpatrick’s Market Worth
If the Steelers need Fitzpatrick in Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future (why wouldn’t they?!), there are a few choices: Let him play on his fifth-year possibility subsequent season and prolong his contract earlier than he hits free company in 2023 or do as they did with Watt and provides him a brand new contract/extension this coming offseason.
Like Watt, Fitzpatrick is not going to need to go into the 2022 season with out a long-term deal. It’s dangerous enterprise. Fitzpatrick would have completely zero leverage in negotiations with Pittsburgh if a devasting harm had been to happen whereas enjoying on the final yr of his contract.
What may a long-term deal for Fitzpatrick seem like? You want solely take into account Seahawks’ Jamal Adams, who turned the NFL’s highest-paid safety in August. Spotrac notes Fitzpatrick’s market value as $63.543 over 4 years ($15.886 APY), a contract that may put him second to Adams.
Fitzpatrick will possible demand greater than that. Will he get it? That’s as much as Fitzpatrick.
Keep away from the Tag
Another can be the dreaded franchise tag, because the Steelers did with (now former) linebacker Bud Dupree in 2020. The projected franchise tag tender for a security in 2022 is $13.543 million and will enhance to $16.543 million in 2023. There’s an entire enjoyable formulation you possibly can learn all about at OverTheCap however projected tender figures are “based mostly on future wage cap estimations and are topic to alter when a future wage cap is made official.” In response to NFL Community’s Tom Pelissero, the NFL and NFL Gamers Affiliation agreed in Might to lift the cap to a most of $208.2 million for the 2022 season.
Although tags shell out an enormous amount of cash, it has its detractors. As a result of the tag is a one-year contract, it doesn’t supply lasting monetary safety. Moreover, the wage determine is predicated on the place group and never the person participant. As gamers earlier than him have, Fitzpatrick may argue he’s price greater than the $16 million tag payout.
Tagging Fitzpatrick may get messy, and it’s greatest the Steelers keep away from that scenario in any respect prices. Nobody desires one other Le’Veon Bell nightmare on their arms.
Enjoying for That Candy, Candy Wage
It’s a indisputable fact that Fitzpatrick is without doubt one of the NFL’s premier safeties. The bar has been set, and he’s not a participant prepared to settle; solely surpass. When Fitzpatrick got here to Pittsburgh in 2019 by way of a really un-Steelers-like in-season trade with the Dolphins, quarterbacks discovered rapidly to keep away from throwing passes in his course. Five interceptions in seven games — one returned for a landing — will do this to a signal-caller.
The menace that Fitzpatrick’s mere presence posed triggered quarterbacks to wrestle. After they did throw the ball his means, solely half of the targets had been completions. Final yr — his first full season with Pittsburgh — Fitzpatrick added 4 extra notches to his interception belt.
Although Fitzpatrick is below the Steelers’ management by means of the 2022 season, he’ll be enjoying this season as if he desires extra — as a result of he does.
If a defensive again forces a quarterback to hesitate or modify, that participant is price each crimson cent. That participant is Minkah Fitzpatrick.
https://heavy.com/sports activities/pittsburgh-steelers/minkah-fitzpatrick-tj-watt-jamal-adams-contract/ | Steelers: Minkah Fitzpatrick Eyes T.J. Watt’s Historic Contract