After the Pittsburgh Steelers made All-Pro outside linebacker TJ Watt the NFL’s highest-paid defenseman in September, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Watt “cancelled his agents” and personally accepted the team’s offer, even though his agents thought they could still get more money.
The way Schefter has framed the story feels like well-crafted propaganda…
… but when Watt appeared on The Rich Eisen Show on November 5, 2021, he indicated that there was at least a kernel of truth in the legend.
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“Did you just say, we’re done?” Eisen asked at one point.
“Yeah, that’s partially true,” Watt said. “It just got to a point where there was a back and forth towards the end in minor details. Obviously anyone who has dealt with any type of negotiation in life, once you get to the end, there are always little things here and there that you want to adjust.
But after months of negotiations deemed “extremely difficult”, Watt said he just wanted to get it over with.
“Towards the end, I just said, Hey, this organization and Mr. Rooney have shown such great faith in me and want to keep me here. I’m so sick of the back and forth, back and forth. They have a lot on the table. Let’s accept it and move on. I wanted more than anything to get back to work, because obviously I wasn’t doing training camp. I wasn’t participating in that. I just wanted to get in on the land as quickly as possible and I felt the deal was fair for both parties.
In the end, Watt received a four-year, $112 million contract extension with $80 million fully guaranteed at signing, according to overthecap.com. It’s a deal that ties him to the Steelers through the 2025 season.
“I’m super happy to be in Pittsburgh for a long time,” Watt told Eisen, “but there’s still a lot of work to do and I want to be the person who can help this team make another Super Bowl.”
Former Steelers draft pick Antoine Brooks Jr. raised by Rams
Meanwhile, Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams Raised former Steelers sixth-round pick Antoine Brooks Jr. from the practice squad to the active/inactive roster for the second straight week. Brooks, who was selected No. 198 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, made his Rams debut on Oct. 31, 2021, in Los Angeles’ 38-22 win over the Houston Texans, playing 19 snaps on special teams.
Brooks signed with the Rams’ practice squad on Sept. 3, 2021, just days after being cut from Pittsburgh’s reserve/injured roster with an injury settlement.
Former Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges loses first CFL start
Also on Saturday, former Steelers quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges made his first CFL start since signing a three-year contract with the Ottawa Redblacks in mid-September.
Hodges completed just 8 of 22 passes for 90 yards and added four carries for 25 yards as his team fell to the Toronto Argonauts, 23-20. It was the sixth straight loss for the Rouge et Noir, who are last in the CFL’s East Division with a 2-11 record. Ottawa concludes its 2021 season on Friday, November 19 in Montreal.
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