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    Steelers make TJ Watt highest paid defender in NFL

    By Amber Lee
    NFL: Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Steelers signed defensive lineman T.J. Watt to a four-year, $112 million extension on Thursday, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

    Watt, 26, will earn $80 million guaranteed, per Rapoport. He is now the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

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    Watt’s mega-contract comes after three years of dominant production for the Steelers. The No. 30 pick in the 2017 NFL draft led the NFL with 15 sacks last season, and he’s tallied 42.5 sacks over the last three seasons. Watt also led the NFL in tackles for loss in 2020.

    The Steelers finished No. 3 in the NFL in scoring defense last season behind Watt’s excellence. They’ve reached the playoffs just once in the last three seasons, losing in the wild card round in 2020.