Steelers make Minkah Fitzpatrick highest-paid safety in NFL history

Minkah Fitzpatrick
Credit: Getty Images

Minkah Fitzpatrick was never going anywhere, but Steelers fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that their star safety has a new deal. It is a four-year, $73.6 million deal tying him to Pittsburgh for the next five seasons, making him the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

Fitzpatrick has been a force for the Steelers since being acquired from the Dolphins in 2019. He has forced 14 combined turnovers and bringing range not seen in the secondary since HOFer Troy Polamalu.

He was forced into a different role last season and his playmaking ability wasn’t featured as often. Despite that, he helped hold an injured defense together enough to earn the Steelers a wildcard spot.

Now with a healthier (and deeper) defense heading into 2022, Fitzpatrick will be able to return to being a true ball-hawking free safety. If the defense can return to 2019 form, Pittsburgh could have a legit shot at another playoff season.

What the Minkah Fitzpatrick deal could mean moving forward

Looking past the on-field ramifications, the timing of this deal was a bit surprising. The Steelers have always been known to play hard ball with even their best players. Even 2021 DPOY TJ Watt was barely signed prior to the season last year. As good as Minkah Fitzpatrick is, you would think it would have been the other way around.

This deal coming before training camp tells me that new GM Omar Khan may want to do things a bit differently. He may have been with the Steelers for 20 years, but he doesn’t want to just keep the status quo. Being more player-friendly with how contract talks go would be a welcome change in the modern NFL.

The Steelers are entering a new era, and Khan knows it. Adjusting how they do business, even just a little, is something that needs to happen. This deal for Minkah Fitzpatrick could be the first move that signals that shift. If so, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving player.

Xavien Howard Requests Trade

BREAKING NEWS: Miami Dolphins star cornerback Xavien Howard requests trade.

Courtesy of Miami Herald

BREAKING NEWS: Miami Dolphins star cornerback Xavien Howard requests trade.

With the day starting on a positive note after Xavien Howard arrived at training camp, things have sure taken a turn for a worse. This evening Xavien Howard, a finalist for DPOY coming off a career season, has put the Dolphins on notice of his intention to be traded.

Such breaking news comes off the back of weeks of speculation as to Howard’s stance after held out of mandatory minicamp in June. In his post, Howard highlights the proposed solutions that many fans thought possible, including more guaranteed money providing better job security past this season. Nevertheless, it seems Chris Grier was firm in his stance after signing Howard to an extension only in May 2019.

Head Coach Brian Flores has always spoken about Howard with the highest admiration, acknowledging the value he brought to the team.

If Xavien Howard is traded he will carry a dead cap of $1.4m against the 2021 cap, with savings of $12.1m. The question now falls to when the Dolphins will trade X, to who and for what compensation? Check out Tanner Elliott’s article as to potential trade suitors. The New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys have been some of the loudest rumors, only time will tell before we know whether such rumors materialize.

Knowing the kind of coach that Brian Flores is, such news and distractions at the very start of camp will inevitably irritate him, and if the situation is beyond repair, the Dolphins may be wise to trade Howard over the next week. Furthermore, the Dolphins front office have not been shy to trade away players in the past following discontent with the organisation. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kiko Alonso being the prime examples.

The question on everybody’s mind over the past weeks has now become a reality. What are the Dolphins going to do without Xavien Howard? Who is the heir apparent? Byron Jones is now inevitably CB 1. The question is who steps up? Training camp has just gotten a lot more interesting. Fins Up!

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