Two years ago, the Steelers agreed to a two-year, $63 million contract extension with Ben Roethlisberger. Hearing the numbers will make your head spin, especially given that Big Ben played just one game last season.
When healthy, he can compete with some of the best in the league; however, he is too expensive for a 38-year old quarterback. If the Steelers don’t act fast and restructure his deal, the team is likely going to lose these three players.
Dupree had a breakout 2019 season that resulted in the franchise tag. With 68 tackles and 11.5 sacks, Dupree is the anchor to the Steelers defense. With the little cap space the Steelers have, there’s just no way the team can bring back Dupree and Smith-Schuster long-term for 2021 and beyond.
The Steelers have two more years of their All-Pro safety, but if he posts another year like last season, it will be hard to afford the 23-year old. He is on track to become the highest-paid player at the position. There is no doubt that he was worth the first-round pick to get him, but the Steelers will need an adequate amount of cash flow to keep him.
T.J. Watt-Defensive End
In 2019, Watt finished with 14.5 sacks, 36 quarterback hits, eight passes defended, four fumble recoveries, and eight forced fumbles. He was one of the main cogs that helped lead the defensive effort and the All-Pro is on pace for a massive payday. His rookie deal will expire after this season. Keeping the 25-year old is worth it compared to paying Big Ben $41.25 million next season.