Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick ‘Shaking His Head’ at NFL Top 100 Ranking

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Pittsburgh Steelers during training camp at Heinz Field on July 28, 2021.

On Sunday, two Pittsburgh Steelers players were named to the 2021 NFL Top 100 list, with defensive end Cameron Heyward coming in at No. 57 and free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick at No. 52.

In Fitzpatrick’s case, that’s 17 spots lower than he was ranked in 2020, when he was No. 35 on the list.

#52 Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Steelers) | Top 100 Players of 2021Subscribe to NFL: Check out our other channels: Para más contenido de la NFL en Español, suscríbete a NFL Fantasy Football NFL Vault NFL Network NFL Films NFL Rush NFL Play Football NFL Podcasts #NFL #Football #AmericanFootball2021-08-16T01:15:07Z

It’s no surprise then, that Fitzpatrick took to Twitter to react to his drop in the rankings, which comes after a second-consecutive first-team All-Pro season, one in which he started all 16 games, recording 79 total tackles and four interceptions.

Nor is it the first time that he has been upset with the way he is being perceived. Last month his Madden 21 ranking was also a source of a disgust.

Never mind that Fitzpatrick was recently labeled as the NFL’s “most complete safety” in an ESPN NFL Insider poll of executives, coaches, scouts and players. Next summer the Steelers are expected to try to negotiate a long-term contract extension with Fitzpatrick, in lieu of him playing on his fifth-year option.

Heyward Jumps 27 Spots on the NFL Top 100 List

Meanwhile, Cameron Heyward, 32, is getting better and better—or at least more appreciated—with age. He’s at No. 57 on the 2021 list after being No. 84 in 2020 and No. 88 in 2019, this after cracking the Top 50 (No. 48) in 2018. All in all, it’s his fifth appearance on the list, which made its debut in 2011, the same year Heyward was Pittsburgh’s first-round draft pick, selected No. 31 overall out of Ohio State.

For Heyward, age is an ongoing source of discussion, with his tweet from Monday morning a representative example.

Of course, the Steelers are hoping Heyward can continue to play at a high level for years to come, as he signed a four-year contract extension last September, one that keeps him with the Steelers through 2024. Last year he earned Pro Bowl honors for the fourth year in a row, responsible for 54 total tackles, four sacks and an interception, the latter of which came in the 2020 season-opener against the New York Giants.

The remainder of the NFL Top 100 list—which is voted on by NFL players—is slated for release on Sun. Aug. 22. Somewhere near the top will be Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who came in at No. 25 in 2020 but is coming off a career-best season in which he was named runner-up to AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

Steelers Restructure Stephon Tuitt’s Contract: Report

In other news from Monday, Field Yates of ESPN is reporting that the Steelers have restructured the contract of defensive end Stephon Tuitt, creating $6.34 million in extra 2021 salary cap space, much of which is likely to be used to extend the contract of T.J. Watt.

Tuitt’s contract is set to expire after the 2022 season, when he will be 30 years old.

James Conner Rejoins Cardinals Teammates

Also on Monday, the Arizona Cardinals activated former Steelers running back James Conner off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Conner had been added on Aug. 12 as a close contact of someone who had tested positive.

Conner signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals in April and went on to boldly predict that he and Chase Edmonds will be one of the best running back tandems in the league this year.

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