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Steelers Make Fitzpatrick NFL’s Highest-Paid Safety

The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially made Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick the highest-paid safety in the NFL. His new deal includes $73.6 million over four years with $36 million guaranteed. Fitzpatrick will be making $18.4 million a year. The kid from Old Bridge, NJ gets paid.

His path to the Steelers required a few detours, but he’s here to stay. Fitzpatrick attended The University of Alabama where he played for legendary coach Nick Saban. He helped win two National Championships in 2015 and 2017. In three years in the SEC, Fitzpatrick was able to snag nine interceptions. six in his sophomore campaign in 2016. Always having a special nose to get to the end zone, he took four interceptions back for a touchdown in his college career.

Fitzpatrick would enter the 2018 NFL Draft. After a good showing at the combine, running a 4.46 40-yard dash and a 33-inch vertical jump the Miami Dolphins would select him 11th overall. He had a good rookie season but in his second year, an early-season trade brought him to Pittsburgh along with two draft picks. Pittsburgh would send the 18th pick in 2020, a fifth-round pick in 2020, and a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft to Miami.

Since getting to Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick has been nothing short of stellar. He has filled up the box score in his 46 games for the Steelers. 11 interceptions, two interceptions returned for a touchdown including a 96-yard return touchdown. 27 passes defended. three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and three total touchdowns. But he’s not just a ballhawk. In his time in Pittsburgh, he has made 203 total tackles and 144 solos. In 2021 Fitzpatrick led the Steelers in combined tackles with 124 and in solos where he posted 84 hits. Versatility won’t be a question for Fitzpatrick anytime soon.

Fitzpatrick has been ranked a Top 100 player in the league as voted by players the last two years. Ranked #35 in 2020 and #57 in 2021. He ranked fourth in the NFL in interceptions in 2019 with five and 7th in 2020 when he had four. It goes without needing to say, but he was a Pro Bowler in those two years before getting questionably left off last year. Also worth noting, Fitzpatrick is 27th amongst active players in interception return yards with 289 yards and 20th amongst active players in Non-Defensive Touchdowns with four. Snap counts come back clean on Fitzpatrick too, as he notched 1083 defensive snaps in 2021 (92.88%).

Not only did the Steelers acquire the services of Fitzpatrick, though. Also in the deal coming to Pittsburgh was a 2020 fourth-round pick and a 2021 seventh-round pick. The fourth-round pick was used to select Kevin Dotson. A fan of the Steelers growing up, the offensive lineman from Louisiana has become a valuable member of the unit up front. Still left was the 2021 seventh-round pick who ended up to be Tre Norwood, DB from Oklahoma. Norwood tallied four passes defended to go with an interception and 32 solo tackles in his rookie campaign.

The Steelers got Fitzpatrick on a team-friendly deal, according to former Steelers linebacker Vince Williams. Many other teammates expressed excitement for Fitzpatrick’s extension on social media, including another Steeler waiting for an extension Diontae Johnson. Pittsburgh isn’t known to extend wide receivers, only doing so on a few occasions. Johnson might have to play out the season to see where his future sits. Johnson has gathered 254 catches for 2,764 yards and 20 touchdowns in his three years in the league, solidifying himself as a top 15 receiver.

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