With Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers continue new trend of guarantees beyond first year

NFL: JAN 16 AFC Wild Card - Steelers at Chiefs
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T.J. Watt forced the Steelers to change the way they do business.

Before Watt’s 2021 contract, the Steelers did not include guarantees beyond the first year of a non-quarterback veteran deal. For Watt, they did it. The question became whether it was an aberration or part of a new trend.

For now, it’s looking like it’s a new trend.

Per a source with knowledge of the terms of the deal, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick received $14.5 million in full guarantees in 2023. Coupled with $21.5 million in 2022, that’s $36 million fully guaranteed at signing.

Here are the full details:

1. Signing bonus: $17.5 million.

2. 2022 base salary: $4 million.

3. 2022 90-man roster bonus: $624,235.

4. 2023 base salary: $14.5 million, fully guaranteed at signing.

5. 2024 base salary: $14.5 million.

6. 2025 base salary: $15.5 million.

7. 2026 base salary: $17.6 million.

He was due make $10.612 million in 2022, along with a 17th game check of $624,235. (That payment became his 90-man roster bonus, surely not coincidentally.)

The contract has a new-money average of $18.247 million. At signing, it’s an annual average of $16.844 million.

As a practical matter, it’s a firm two-year deal with a team-held option for each of the last three years. There’s currently no reason to think the Steelers wouldn’t keep him, but they’ll have the flexibility to move on, since there are no guarantees in 2024, 2025, or 2026.

With the Steelers finally joining the bulk of the league in guaranteeing payments beyond the first year of veteran, non-quarterback contracts, only the Bengals and Packers continue to confine guaranteed payments to the initial season of such deals.

4 responses to “With Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers continue new trend of guarantees beyond first year

  1. Can’t wait till all contracts are fully guaranteed and the NFL can become more like MLB and the NBA. That strategy sure worked great for them.

  2. It’s still a bad contract because he’s not a top 5 Safety in the league just like Jamal Adams isn’t and they could have drafted a top 5 Safety under a rookie deal instead.

    It’s the height of stupidity and speaks to the lack of confidence and poor coaching of Mike Tomlin and Colbert, unable to source and coach up a good prospect.

    You’d think Fitzpatrick was Ronnie Lott or Ed Reed being drafted in the top 10. It was a horrible value pick.

    And then Pitt doubles down on it. Laughable.

    Devin McCourty will have a better year than this guy as a FS at age 33.

  3. Fitzpatrick has had two All Pro Seasons in Pittsburgh and had an off year last year by leading the team in tackles. Now he’s getting paid like it. This is what having a Rookie QB allows a team to do.

  4. Steelers reportedly have the highest defensive payroll in the league and the lowest on offense. Some of that is so many starters on O are first contract guys and they don’t have much invested in Mitch.

    It will catch up. Extensions are still possible for Diontae Johnson WR and K Chirs Boswell…..the latter really is an offensive player and not special teams.

    The Steelers also have quite a bit of cap space left. The irony is the cap hit on Fitzpatrick went down on his new deal.

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