TJ Watt's lucrative Steelers contract extension puts him at the top of highest-paid defenders
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Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt is reportedly set to become the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL with his new contract extension.
Watt and the team agreed to a four-year extension worth $112 million, the NFL Network reported Thursday. He will earn $80 million guaranteed and about $28.003 million annually.
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Among other linebackers in the league, it was Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard who had one of the priciest contracts in the league. Leonard signed a five-year, $98.25 million deal in August that guaranteed him $33 million and earned him $19.7 million annually.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner’s contract was also worth $95.225 million with an average annual value of $19.045 million, according to Over The Cap. He signed his extension in July.
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There are five defensive players who will earn more money over the total value of their contracts, according to Over The Cap. Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack ($141 million), Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($135 million), Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa ($135 million), Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ($125 million) and Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller ($114.5 million).
However, Watt will earn more money annually. Bosa had the highest average annual value with $27 million. Bosa also had the highest total guaranteed money with $78 million.
The 26-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro selection. The 2020 season was one of the best seasons of his career as the team finished third in points allowed and yards allowed.
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Last season, he led the league with 15 sacks and 23 tackles for a loss. He had 53 total tackles, one interception and two forced fumbles during the year. The Steelers, however, were blown out of their wild card game against the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs.
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