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Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger lobbies for paying T.J. Watt

Pittsburgh Steelers' T.J. Watt contract extension
Oct 1, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker TJ Watt (90) defends a pass against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger sees no ceiling on the financial value of outside linebacker T.J. Watt and implored the Pittsburgh Steelers to open the coffers and meet the pass rusher’s contract demands.

“I think T.J. Watt should get whatever the heck he wants. He’s arguably the best football player in the game right now, not just on defense but in general,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “I’ve been through a few negotiations here with contracts. One of the reasons was so he could get paid. He deserves every penny that he wants, asks for. T.J. Watt is ‘that guy’ and should get whatever he wants.”

With the Steelers in dire straits against the salary cap, Roethlisberger, 39, took a pay cut to return to the team in 2021.

Watt, 26, has been a participant in team and position meetings but avoided on-field workouts all offseason.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said Watt would practice Wednesday and be available for the Week 1 game against the Buffalo Bills.

Watt’s physical readiness is not known, but Tomlin voiced optimism he would be ready to play a significant role after leading the NFL with 15 sacks last season. He is a two-time All-Pro.

Reports surfaced Tuesday indicating Watt and the Steelers remained in a staredown over guarantees beyond the first year of the contract.

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–Field Level Media