The Pittsburgh Steelers have locked down one of their best defensive players with a record-setting contract. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has agreed to a four-year, $73.6 million deal, according to multiple reports.
The contract reportedly includes $36 million guaranteed. With an average salary of $18.4 million per year, Fitzpatrick becomes the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history.
Owned $10.6 million for the 2022 season, Fitzpatrick is signed through the 2026 season with the new extension.
Steelers, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick agree to terms on a 4-year deal worth $73.6 million, including $36 million guaranteed. (via @RapSheet) pic.twitter.com/GcQzSzhwwU
— NFL (@NFL) June 15, 2022
Jamal Adams previously held the record with an average annual salary of $17.5 million per season. The Seattle Seahawks inked Adams to a four-year, $70 million contract with a reported $38 million guaranteed last summer.
Despite his standing among other safeties, Fitzpatrick still makes less per year than 50 NFL players, according to Spotrac. There are 36 players signed to contracts with an average annual value of at least $20 million.
The Los Angeles Rams recently made Aaron Donald the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. Donald signed a three-year, $95 million deal.
Fitzpatrick paid immediate dividends for the Steelers when Pittsburgh traded for him from the Miami Dolphins in 2019. The No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft recorded five interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two touchdowns in his second pro season. Fitzpatrick was a First-team All-Pro selection in 2019 and 2020.
Fitzpatrick was not All-Pro or Pro Bowl selection in 2021. He led the Steelers with 124 tackles.
Pittsburgh went from having a top-five defense in both 2019 and 2020 to ranking 24th in the 2021 season. The Steelers still made the playoffs as a wild-card team.
The Steelers have gone almost two decades without having a losing record.