The Pittsburgh Steelers have resigned Minkah Fitzpatrick to a 4 year extension worth a reported 73.6 million dollars with 36 of it guaranteed. The deal makes him the NFL’s highest paid safety and proves, once again, that Minkah Fitzpatrick shows that sometimes its worth paying attention to social media.
- Ah, how’s that you say?
Let me explain. Part of being an intelligent football fan in the digital age is being wise enough to ignore much if not most of what you see on social media. For quick reference think back a few months to those reports that “The Steelers have a deal in place to land Aaron Rodgers should he ask out of Green Bay.”
A lot of people on Twitter believed that. Bless their hearts, they really did.
Many also bought the Tweets and Facebook posts that explained why Russell Wilson was destined for the Steel City. And of course there were fans who got frustrated when the Steelers didn’t offer 5 first round draft picks for Deshaun Watson, as reports assured us they were ready to do.
Which isn’t to say that those reports are always wrong. A tweet from someone I trust led your truly to write up an article detailing the Steelers signing of Tyrann Mathieu. Thank God I double checked, because it will be Terrell Edmunds and not Mathieu lining up along side Minkah this year.
- But Minkah has been different.
During September 2019, I was hurriedly getting ready to work my company’s booth at Oracle Open World when I saw on WhatApp that the Steelers were trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick. I thought nothing of it, because everyone “knows” the Steelers never trade their first round pick.
- They especially wouldn’t trade him less than 24 hours after losing Ben Roethlisberger for the season.
No, I figured it was some over enthusiastic, gullible fan who’d been duped by social media and forgot about it. But then I found out it was real.
The same thoughts occurred to me today when I saw the news. I figured it had to be false, because the Steelers never make those moves now, always right before the season.
But sign Minkah they have. The question is why now?
Omar Khan Effect?
The Pittsburgh Steelers pioneered the practice of resigning free agents who are in the final year of their deals. And they often made those signings in the spring, well before training camp. Greg Lloyd and Dermontti Dawson inked deals during this timeframe.
- James Harrison similarly got an extension in the spring as have a few others.
But by in large, as the Kevin Colbert era progressed, the Steelers have waited until the end of the summer to resign their players. Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt and Stephon Tuitt all inked deals just before the beginning of the season. Heck Troy Polamalu signed his contract at the airport as the Steelers were leaving for Baltimore for the 2011 opener. (The Steelers unlike other clubs don’t negotiate contracts during the season.)
The Steelers were expected to do the same with Minkah. Hold off through training camp and preseason as insurance against injury and ink a deal before the season’s start.
- But instead, they’ve signed him.
Whether this is a tactical shift by new General Manager Omar Khan or a one-off move, this is the right thing to do. Yes, there is a risk that Fitzpatrick could get injured during drills at St. Vincents or during preseason. But there’s also a greater chance that he could get injured in the season opener.
This way Minkah will be with the team, fully participating in drills and in preseason, if you’re a curmudgeon like me who still believes “practice makes perfect,” that’s a good thing.