PITTSBURGH – The Steelers locked up stud safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on Wednesday by making him the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

It was a smart decision and a good move by the Steelers. Fitzpatrick is arguably the best safety in the game and he is a key player on Pittsburgh’s defense. Most figured Fitzpatrick’s new contract was a matter of “when”, as opposed to “if”.

Locking up one of your best players for the foreseeable future is obviously something to get excited about, but recent details released by ESPN‘s Field Yates show how Fitzpatrick’s new contract is better than previously imagined.

That’s right. The Steelers saved money in 2022 by giving Fitzpatrick a new deal. He was originally set to count $10.612 million against the cap, but his contract paved the way for the Steelers to reduce the cap hit. The Steelers may be able to use that money to bring in a veteran player for depth, considering they currently have 89 players on the roster.

How is this done, you may wonder? It’s because of the signing bonus that Yates mentioned. Signing bonuses are prorated over the life of the contract, which allows the player to get paid upfront, but the team doesn’t have to add the entire sum to the applicable year’s cap.

In other words: Fitzpatrick’s signing bonus is spread out over four or five years, possibly including 2022. Therefore, the bonus only costs the Steelers $3.5 million or $4.375 million per year.

The full details have yet to be released, so it’s hard to figure out just exactly what his earnings/cap hit are each year during the deal, but those will come out, soon enough.

But for now, everything is looking pretty good when it comes to the Steelers and Fitzpatrick’s new contract.

Featured image via Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports