A pair of Pittsburgh Steelers defenders have been named to the Associated Press 2021 NFL All-Pro Team, which was unveiled on Friday January 14, 2022. That includes Defensive Player of the Year favorite T.J. Watt, who was one of five unanimous selections, along with: defensive tackle Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams; running back Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts; and wide receivers Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers and Cooper Kupp of the Rams. Also making the team at Watt’s edge rusher position was Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns, who received 29 votes, 20 more than the next closest contender, that being Robert Quinn of the Chicago Bears.
The other Steelers star to make the team was defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, who received 19 votes. That’s ten more than the next closest competitors, those being Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jeffery Simmons of the Tennessee Titans. It’s the third time that Heyward, 33, has been named an All-Pro, and the third time for Watt as well.
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3 Other Steelers Received Votes
Only three other Steelers players received votes, including free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who received a single vote after having been named first-team All-Pro in both 2019 and 2020, honorifics which added millions to his 2022 salary, which will be $10.612 million in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.
Also earning consideration: Safety Miles Killebrew, who got three votes in the special teamer category; and fullback Derek Watt, who received a single vote in the same category.
Killebrew has a reputation for providing especially strong special teams play. You may recall that he was the first unrestricted free agent that the Steelers signed away from another team during this past offseason, coming to Pittsburgh from the Detroit Lions on a one-year contract that paid him a $990,000 salary, plus a signing bonus of $137,500.
This as compared to Derek Watt, who had the same salary in 2021 but had a cap number of $2,953,333. It should be interesting to see if the Steelers retain Derek Watt in 2022. He is entering the third and final year of the deal he signed on March 18, 2020, which provides for a salary of $2.75 million and has a cap number of $4,713,334, thanks to a contract restructure that took place in March 2021.
Steelers Lose James Pierre to the Reserve/COVID-19 List
In other news from Friday, the Steelers placed second-year cornerback James Pierre on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Pierre played in all 17 regular season games and made four starts, responsible for 47 tackles, one interception, three forced fumbles and four passes defensed.
The team also signed placekicker Sam Sloman to the practice squad, much like they did last week, and much like they have done at other times this season. To make room for Sloman, the Steelers released wide receiver Tyler Vaughns from the practice squad.
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