Ben Roethlisberger says Pittsburgh Steelers should pay T.J. Watt 'whatever he wants'

Mike Tomlin is confident that T.J. Watt and the Steelers can reach a deal before their first game. (1:40).
PITTSBURGH -- Wednesday morning, Ben Roethlisberger sent a clear message the Pittsburgh Steelers' brass: Pay T.J. Watt now.

Roethlisberger stated that T.J. should have whatever he wants. He is undoubtedly the best football player right now, and not just on defense but in general.

"One reason I took less money was to make sure guys like him got paid. He deserves to be paid. He is worthy of every penny he asks for and wants. T.J. Watt should have everything he desires.

Roethlisberger (39) willingly cut his salary by $5million when he signed a contract in March. This freed up $15 million for the 2021 season.

Watt was the NFL Defensive Player Of The Year in both of his previous two seasons. He had 15 sacks in 2020, giving him 49.5 total sacks.

Since he was drafted in 2004, Roethlisberger went through four extensions of his contract and three restructures. Steelers guarantee signing bonuses only for the first year. The Steelers will typically restructure deals after that to provide more security and guaranteed money for players, rather than taking on the cost upfront.

Watt, who is on track to be the NFL's highest paid defensive player, will likely try to break the trend by offering more upfront guarantees.

Roethlisberger stated that the problem with negotiating a new contract is that it is always two-sided. There's only so much you could do when the bosses or higher-ups are in control.

We all feel sorry for T.J. Everyone understands how desperate he is to be out there. He was there every day, and he didn’t have to be, working, or busting his butt. He should be taken care of."

Watt attended all training camp practices and was present at Monday's. Watt has only participated in drills, and he worked with the team during the team period. This is the same as his preseason.

On Tuesday, Coach Mike Tomlin stated that Watt would be fully participating Wednesday and that he was optimistic about a deal being reached soon.

Tomlin said that Watt was available for Sunday's season opening in Buffalo despite the fact that Watt has not had enough practice time.

Roethlisberger said that he has spoken with Watt throughout the negotiation process.

Roethlisberger stated that many young men don't get the process, because they haven’t gone through it. "That's why, I believe I can speak with T.J. briefly and talk to him. The feeling is that everyone knows how amazing he is and deserves the best.