Shaq Barrett’s contract should push the Steelers to sign T.J. Watt

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Curt Popejoy
·1 min read
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On the first unofficial day of free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been quiet as expected. But just because the Steelers aren’t making news, they should be paying close attention and learn from what is going on.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled on a slick move on Monday when they signed elite edge rusher Shaq Barrett to a four-year contract that could pay him as much as $72 million and with $36 million guaranteed.

Just looking at this offseason, where the salary cap has been cut and players and front offices are being forced to look at contracts in a whole new light, the Bucs made securing one of the best pass rushers in the league look easy.

If the Steelers are paying attention, they should use this as an opportunity to get their own elite pass rusher, T.J. Watt locked up long-term as well. Barrett is the ceiling for the edge rusher class and could have gotten more on the open market.

The same will be said for Watt in the next offseason but with a big bump in the salary cap coming and assuming Watt continues to be a star in the league, a new contract next offseason will cost this team much much more. Better to focus on getting a long-term extension in place now, using the blueprint laid out by Tampa than take the risk later on.

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NFL free agency 2021: Steelers free agency primer