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T.J. Watt could miss Steelers’ opener vs. Bills amid contract dispute, per report

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Scott Taetsch / Contributor

T.J. Watt is broadly thought of a favourite to win 2021 Defensive Player of the 12 months honors getting into a contract season with the Steelers. That is assuming the star move rusher fits up for Pittsburgh, which could not be the case in Week 1. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Watt’s availability for the Steelers’ season opener in opposition to the Bills on Sunday seems “doubtful” barring a last-minute settlement on a brand new contract. The Professional Bowler didn’t totally take part in a single staff apply all through coaching camp, and his apply standing forward of Sunday’s matchup has not changed whereas he seeks a pay increase.

Watt, who exploded for a career-high 15 sacks in 2020, just isn’t technically a holdout contemplating he is attended each apply because the summer season started. However he participated completely in particular person drills throughout camp, understanding away from the remainder of the staff in an effort to speed up talks on a brand new deal. Coach Mike Tomlin will reportedly deal with Watt’s absence on Tuesday, however some have speculated that Sunday’s kickoff might function an unofficial deadline for an extension, contemplating the Steelers have lengthy refused to barter new contracts throughout the season.

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Watt is due $10 million in 2021, the ultimate 12 months on his rookie contract. According to ProFootballTalk, he is in search of not solely to develop into the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player, with a median annual wage exceeding $27 million per 12 months, however to obtain extra assured cash this season and past. Inflated base salaries on the again finish of a long-term extension would simply enable the Steelers to make Watt the sport’s top-paid defender, ProFootballTalk speculates, however “it will not be simple to get full ensures past the primary 12 months of the deal,” particularly if the clock is ticking on negotiations.

Watt lacking any video games could be an enormous blow to a Pittsburgh protection extra depending on his move rush within the wake of Bud Dupree’s offseason departure. The previous first-round choose has seen his sack whole enhance in three straight seasons, logging double-digit sacks yearly since 2018 because the membership’s most disruptive playmaker up entrance. His 15 sacks and 23 tackles for loss in 2020 led the NFL.

Can Huge Ben return to glory? Will Najee Harris rush for 1,000 yards in his rookie season? Get the most recent Steelers scoop from Bryan DeArdo, our native professional who’s on the bottom in Pittsburgh, by downloading the CBS Sports app. If you have already got the app, favourite the Steelers to get up-to-the-second news.  

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https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/t-j-watt-could-miss-steelers-opener-vs-bills-amid-contract-dispute-per-report/ | T.J. Watt might miss Steelers’ opener vs. Payments amid contract dispute, per report

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