PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers and T.J. Watt still don't have a contract extension done, but it's assumed both sides are close.
As the Steelers inch closer to their regular season kickoff in Buffalo against the Bills, Watt is back on the field - but without a deal. The outside linebacker returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time this season and is expected to play on Sunday.
The roadblock between the two sides is reportedly guaranteed money. The Cleveland Browns handed pass-rusher Myles Garrett $100 million guaranteed last season and Watt is expected to be in that same market.
However, the Steelers' business model is to only guarantee the first year of a player's contract; something they'll clearly need to budge on if they want a deal to get done before Week 1.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joined a group of pretty much everyone in supporting Watt's pursuit of a deal.
"T.J. [Watt] should get whatever the heck he wants," Roethlisberger said. "He's arguably the best football player in the game right now, not just on defense but in general. ... One of the reasons I took less money was for guys like him to be paid. He needs to get paid. He deserves every penny that he wants and asks for. T.J. Watt is that guy that should get whatever he wants."
The mood seems to be the same throughout the coaching staff and locker room. The Steelers know they want Watt around for years to come, and his teammates know he deserves to be paid.
For now, Watt Watch continues, but as we move closer to game time, the two sides are likely moving closer on a deal.
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