(Photo by Micheal Reaves/Getty Images)
At least as of now, T.J. Watt hasn't agreed to a long-term contract extension with the Steelers. But that could be changing soon, as Watt was a full participant at practice today for the first time since the beginning of training camp in late July. Inside linebacker Joe Schobert confirmed the news to the media that Watt practiced.
Mike Tomlin said after practice that he thought Watt "looked good" and was "engaged." He also said that Watt had been a full participant in walk-throughs and is a "smart guy" so it didn’t take much for him to get up to speed.
Before practice on Wednesday, Najee Harris posted a video on his Instagram Story of Joe Haden's collection of shoes, and you can hear Derek Watt's voice in the background saying hb“Just cause he signed so late I guarantee everything’s going to be backtracked.” It's unclear who Watt was referring too, but it could have been in regards to his brother's contract extension.
Nevertheless, Watt practicing fully is a good sign that he'll play on Sunday against the Bills. The Steelers have a long-standing policy of not negotiating contracts after the start of the regular season, but Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted yesterday that the Steelers will sign a player after the start of the season if they had already been negotiating with him, which is the case with Watt.
Ben Roethlisberger spoke with the media today and he strongly advocated for the Steelers to pay Watt handsomely, as the three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker is seeking a contract that will make him the highest paid defensive player in the league.
Ben Roethlisberger spoke with the media today and he strongly advocated for the Steelers to pay Watt what he rightly deserves, as the three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker is seeking a contract that will make him the highest paid defensive player in the league.
“I think T.J. should get whatever the heck he wants,” Roethlisberger said. "He’s arguably the best football player in the game right now. Not just on defense, just in general.”
Roethlisberger took a $5 million pay cut this offseason to help the Steelers out with their dire cap situation, along with giving the organization more freedom to spread money around to other players.
“I’ve been through a few negotiations with contracts,” Roethlisberger said. “One of the reasons I took less money was for guys like him to get paid. He needs to get paid. He deserves every penny that he wants and asks for. T.J. is that guy that should get whatever he wants.”