We were looking for it and it came. Pressed up against the team’s deadline of ending contract discussion at the start of the current season, the Pittsburgh Steelers and defensive end Stephon Tuitt came together on a six-year deal that equals a five-year extension.
Updated with contract figure: Steelers are signing DE Stephon Tuitt to a five-year, $61 million extension, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2017
Stephon Tuitt and Steelers agree to extension
The five added years of the deal add up to about $61 million. In terms of average annual value, he tops his teammate Cameron Heyward along with Cam Jordan and Michael Bennett to crack the top ten in highest paid defensive ends per year.
Some could see this as an overpay. Cam Jordan had 7.5 sacks last season and has 18 in two years. Meanwhile, Tuitt had 4.5 last year and just 11.5 in his last two seasons. However, in terms of pressures created, defensive versatility and an ability to stay on the field, Tuitt deserved every dollar.
Over the past two seasons, no defensive end has put in more snaps. He can play up and down the defensive line in any spot and can not only rush the quarterback but is exceptional at getting into the backfield to defend the run.
The team also has a track record for betting on players early and seeing them live up to their money of the course of the contract. Marcus Gilbert and Antonio Brown are two recent examples of players who looked like bargains by the end of their first non-rookie deal.
With Tuitt combining with Cameron Heyward and second-year defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, the team is set on the defensive line for years to come. The group should mold together and fit into the Steelers mantra of winning games up front in the trenches. Steelers fans may now compare this trio to Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel of the recent past.