Steelers’ T.J. Watt and Browns’ Myles Garrett Compared

TJ Watt

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt.

Reports indicate that the Cleveland Browns have signed Myles Garrett to a new five-year contract extension worth $125 million, binding him to the team through the 2026 season.

It can be argued that the Browns: signed Garrett to an extension a year too early, and also overpaid for his services. But considering the organization’s atrocious track record when it comes to first-round picks, perhaps they were desperate to prove they could keep him in the fold long-term.

But being that Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt play the same position—and were drafted in the same round of the same draft—it’s an appropriate time to compare how Watt’s career with the Pittsburgh Steelers has compared to that of Garrett.


Myles Garrett vs. T.J. Watt

Myles Garrett was selected first overall in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M. To date he’s played in 37 games with a total of 30.5 sacks, plus 65 quarterback hits and 32 tackles for loss. He’s also been in on 104 total tackles—74 solo—with two forced fumbles.

Prior to the contract extension he was scheduled to earn $4.612 million in salary this season and $15.124 next season, per overthecap.com.

T.J. Watt was selected by the Steelers with the thirtieth pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft (University of Wisconsin). Watt has started 47 of a possible 48 regular season games in his career, responsible for 34.5 sacks, 70 quarterback hits and 36 tackles for loss. He’s also been a part of 177 total tackles, including 125 solo tackles.

Bottom line: T.J. Watt’s sack-per-game pace may be a little behind that of Garrett, but his total production has been a lot more robust.

Most importantly, Watt forces turnovers, while Garrett does not. In three years, Watt has forced 15 fumbles, recovered four fumbles and also intercepted three passes. Plus, he has gotten noticeably better each year; last season he finished third in AP Defensive Player of the Year voting, behind Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals and Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots, the latter the winner of the award.


T.J. Watt’s Contract Status

Meanwhile, it’s likely the T.J. Watt will be the team’s top priority for a contract extension next summer. According to overthecap.com, Watt’s base salary will be $1.727 million this season, and he’s scheduled to earn $10.089 million on his fifth-year option, which the Steelers exercised in April.

Recently he’s earned more than a few accolades from NFL observers. For example, one NFL analyst recently named Watt as the best edge rusher in the NFL. And Pro Football Focus has identified him as one of the 50 best players in the NFL entering 2020, right alongside teammate Cameron Heyward. He’s also been discussed as one of the top 5 pass rushing duos in the NFL, playing opposite fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree. And yet another longtime analyst included him on his ‘never let them leave’ list, alongside safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

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