The Pittsburgh Steelers just locked up All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to a long-term deal on Wednesday. The deal has the safety securely with the Steelers until the 2027 season. The deal made the safety the highest paid safety ever in the history of the NFL. It was a deal that the Steelers had to get done and it was well deserved based on the defensive turnaround the Steelers have seen since trading for him in the 2019 season.
“And I think it’s a healthy environment for myself and my family, for our future. So we just wanted to get it done when we get it done before camp, knock it out the way.”
Everyone has been reacting to the deal since it was signed and announced by the team on Wednesday. ESPN Analysts, Keyshawn Johnson and Dan Orlovsky, made comments about the signing and what Fitzpatrick does for this Steelers defense. ESPN shared this graphic while show host, Laura Rutledge introduced the topic of conversation.
“The Pittsburgh defense has been on another level since Fitzpatrick came on board, regardless of what the coverage they throw at you. Using ESPN‘s metrics powered by NFL NextGen, Pittsburgh has allowed the lowest completion rate in both man and zone coverage, doesn’t matter since Fitzpatrick made his debut in Week 3 of the 2019 season. The Steelers D also ranks among the best in QBR and yards per drop back allowed in those schemes. They’re tough to reckon with. So Key, how important is Minkah Fitzpatrick to this defense based on his role there?”
“Extremely important. He’s one of, I would say one or two of the top cover down safeties in the National Football League. He’s one of those guys that you cannot take off the field on third downs. A lot of times safeties come off the field, but you can match him up in the slot on the tight ends, back out of the backfield. And even if you decide to put him at corner, you could because of his days at Alabama, and you know that Laura, by covering the SEC. He’s just been a surprise, I think to a lot of people in Pittsburgh or those that didn’t really follow his college career to understand why Miami would get rid of him and move him to Pittsburgh. But he is for sure one of the top safeties in the league and deserves every single penny that he’s getting.”
Orlovsky talked about the confusion for opposing quarterbacks that Fitzpatrick causes:
“At the snap, is he going back towards the sideline, back towards the middle of the field? Is he dropping down? Is it single high? Is it two high safety? And he’s constantly lying to the quarterbacks with his pre-snap and post-snap disguise. And it maybe doesn’t force one mistake on that play, but what it does is you start to play slower and slower and slower as a quarterback with trusting your eyes and the things that you’re seeing.”
Orlovsky went on to compare the safety to an all-time great that the Steelers saw twice a year with the Baltimore Ravens:
“It forces hesitation and then it catches up to you later in the game. It’s very Ed Reed like when it comes to that position. I think that’s what he really brings as a secondary, as a safety player and why that Steelers defense has gotten so much better since he got there.”
Rutledge goes on to say, the safety has forced turnovers and has capitalized on them himself.
“Since entering the league in 2018, Fitzpatrick’s 4 defensive touchdowns [are] tied for most in the league.”
Check out the clip of Johnson below:
Check out Orlovsky’s clip here!