Minkah Fitzpatrick became the highest-paid safety in the NFL on Wednesday, inking a four-year contract extension worth more than $73.6 million with $36 million guaranteed.
On Thursday, the Steelers’ playmaker said he wanted to be the top-paid safety but knows it’s simply a new benchmark for someone else to break.
“Yeah, I think I’m one of the best at what I do,” he said. “So obviously, you would like to be paid in that way and represented in that way. In a week from now or a year from now, somebody’s obviously gonna pass it up, but you always want to raise the bar for the guys behind you, want to raise the bar for the people in our locker room. I think Mr. Rooney and (general manager) Omar (Khan), they see the work that I put in, and obviously my play on the field reflects that. They’re willing to make me that, and I’m appreciative.”
The two-time first-team All-Pro has proven his worth to Pittsburgh since being traded to the Steelers in 2019. In 46 games, he’s generated 11 INTs with 203 tackles in Pittsburgh.
Fitzpatrick said Thursday the money shows the Steelers trust him to continue ascending, but it doesn’t add pressure.
“Because I’ve done it, there’s no pressure,” he said. “That’s the standard that I hold myself to day in and day out.”
It was also important for Fitzpatrick to get his deal done before training camp next month, so he could just focus on ball.
“It was important. I wanted to be out there with my teammates, practicing and competing,” he said. “The thing I appreciate the most about this organization is its commitment to winning. The season I came here, they lost their Hall of Fame QB. They could’ve tanked. But they went out, got me, and added some other guys. It was a season about winning.”
Last season ended in what Fitzpatrick called an “embarrassment” with a playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs — a 42-21 defeat.
With a big contract in hand, the star safety is now out to get back to those winning ways.