PITTSBURGH ( Associated Press) — Minka Fitzpatrick is living in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers signed his star safety on a five-year contract on Wednesday. Financial statement was not released. The NFL Network reported that the deal is worth $73.6 million, which would make him the highest-paid security in the league.
Fitzpatrick, 25, was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract. He has had a stellar run since arriving in Pittsburgh in September 2019 in a trade with Miami and was selected to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team in each of his first two seasons with the Steelers.
Fitzpatrick said in a release that he was “shocked” and “excited” as he enters the prime of his career.
“This is just the beginning,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m appreciative. I’m grateful. Now I just want to keep cutting. I love the history here. What does that mean. The standard we stand by.”
Fitzpatrick’s deal gives the defense of Pittsburgh the construction of three pillars as it begins the post-Ben Roethlisberger era. The Steelers signed defensive player of the year TJ Watts to a mega-contract last summer, and veteran All-Pro defensive end Cam Hayward is entering his 12th season with the club.
“Minka is one of the top safeties in the NFL and we are thrilled that he will be in Pittsburgh for at least the next five years,” Steelers general manager Omar Khan said in a statement. “When we traded him, we knew he was going to be an integral part of our defense and we look forward to continuing that to prepare for the upcoming season.”
Fitzpatrick participated in the team’s off-season schedule, but declined to act 11-on-11, a decision Watt made last year while his deal was being negotiated. Watt’s contract was not finalized until the eve of the regular season. Fitzpatrick being done now removes any potential distractions for him as the team prepares to return to training camp at St. Vincent’s College in late July.
“I really like it here,” Fitzpatrick said. “I have been playing well in the last three seasons at a high level. I like the atmosphere, the coaching, the tradition. To be able to continue this for the next few years is definitely a blessing.”
Fitzpatrick is coming off a solid 2021 in which he had a career-best 124 tackles – the most by a defensive back in the league – with two interceptions and a fumble recovery to go. He has been remarkably durable with the Steelers, missing just one game in three seasons, playing a 99% defensive snap.
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