Kinkhabwala says the Steelers so far have refused to break their precedent of guaranteeing money beyond the first year of the contract and that could sink negotiations.
Pittsburgh also has a precedent of refusing to negotiate contracts in-season, so Week 1 is a self-imposed deadline for the two sides.
By all accounts, Watt is on the verge of becoming the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. The total number doesn’t appear to be an issue and Watt is believed to be seeking $28 million per year on the new deal.
Both Chargers DE Joey Bosa and Browns DE Myles Garrett got over $100 million in guarantees, though, which would be difficult for the Steelers to do unless they break their established contract precedent.
Watt, 26, is a former first-round pick of the Steelers back in 2017. He played out his four-year, $9.258 million contract and made a base salary of $1.72 million in 2020.
Pittsburgh exercised Watt’s fifth-year option last offseason for $10.089 million in 2021.
In 2020, Watt appeared in 15 games for the Steelers and recorded 53 tackles, 15 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, and seven pass defenses.
We’ll have more on Watt as the news is available.