Derek Watt: ‘Big Smile’ When He Learned of Steelers Contract Offer


Katharine Lotze/Getty Images Derek Watt with T.J. Watt in 2019, while Derek was still a member of the Los Angeles Chargers.

In late March fullback Derek Watt signed a three-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency to join his brother T.J. in the Steel City.

In an interview yesterday on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Derek Watt revealed that his agents deliberately downplayed Pittsburgh’s interest in him, so he would remain even-keeled throughout the free agency process.

“My agents had been keeping track, keeping in touch and saying ‘Oh, we’ve got some teams interested.’ They had a couple listed out that I was aware of that seemed to be extremely interested,” Watt said.

“All along they kind of mentioned [the Steelers were] kind of on the back-burner,” Watt added. “It turns out they were trying to … all along the Steelers were one of the top teams that were trying to come after me. They [my agents] just didn’t want to get my hopes up because they knew how exciting and special it would be to play with T.J.”

How Did Derek Watt Learn of Pittsburgh’s Contract Offer?

According to Watt, his agents continued to downplay Pittsburgh’s interest until it was decision day.

“They presented me with the offer without a team name at the top,” Watt said during the aforementioned Sirius XM NFL Radio interview. “So I still at this point had no clue which team it was. And all of a sudden it gets to the end and they tell me ‘how would you like to be a Pittsburgh Steeler?’ And I was like, right there, a big smile came over my face.”

Once Derek Watt plays his first game with the Steelers, he’ll have had the opportunity to play with his brother T.J. in high school, college and at the professional level. Like T.J. Watt, Derek played football at the University of Wisconsin.

Derek Watt was drafted into the NFL by the San Diego Chargers in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, a year earlier than T.J., who was drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round of the Steelers’ top-rated 2017 draft.

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J.J. Watt’s Contract Status

The addition of Derek Watt to the Steelers roster has some wondering if J.J. Watt will eventually move to join his brothers in Pittsburgh.

Assuming J.J. Watt is willing to take a huge pay cut, it could happen in 2022, when his contract with the Houston Texans expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent. According to, J.J. Watt is scheduled to earn $15,500,000 in salary in 2020 and $17,500,000 in 2021.

Like his brothers, J.J. Watt also played at the University of Wisconsin. He was selected by the Texans in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft (eleventh overall).

Meanwhile, Derek and T.J. Watt aren’t the only brothers on Pittsburgh’s roster. The Steelers also employ both Terrell Edmunds and Trey Edmunds, who play safety and running back, respectively.

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