PITTSBURGH – There’s a reason the Pittsburgh Steelers were elated when they traded for Minkah Fitzpatrick back in 2019.

At the time, they thought they were getting a player who could end up being one of the best at his position. Sure enough, time has proven the Steelers to be right. Fitzpatrick is everything the Steelers thought he could become, racking up consecutive All-Pros from 2019-2020 and recording a career-high 124 tackles last year.

Fitzpatrick has held up his end of the bargain in regard to his on-field production and play. Now, it’s time for the Steelers to hold up theirs in the form of a long-term deal.

But, according to ESPN‘s Jeremy Fowler, the Steelers “won’t be rushed” into getting a deal done. Granted, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to pay Fitzpatrick. However, it does mean they aren’t quite ready to start talks. At the same time, Fowler lists July-September as an ideal time to begin said talks.

One big reason why the Steelers aren’t in a rush to begin talks -outside of having a whole year to do so- stems from Fowler’s own report. And it’s the fact that Fowler -who is plugged into the NFL’s inner circles- expects Fitzpatrick’s new deal to be a “market-setting” deal:

Fitzpatrick, one of the game’s top safeties, now falls into that category. But he also knows the Steelers operate on their own time, which means we should look ahead to sometime between July and the September kickoff. “They won’t be rushed into a deal,” a source said. Under recently retired GM Kevin Colbert, the Steelers also did not negotiate in-season.

Fitzpatrick will likely be aiming for Jamal Adams’ market-setting $17.5 million per year. He’s in the top five among safeties in interceptions since 2019 (11) and has 36 career pass deflections and two first-team All-Pro selections.

The shine has fallen off Adams since he inked his big deal, but Fitzpatrick’s market has done nothing but rise. And in today’s economy we all know what inflation means and how it affects everything around us. Meaning, if Adams’ deal was a market-setting deal almost a year ago, then it’s easy to see why Fitzpatrick’s deal will be more than $17.5 million per year.

And when considering all of that, it’s really easy to see why the Steelers want to take their time when it comes to Fitzpatrick’s eventual deal.

You can read Fowler’s full column, here.

Featured image via Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports