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Team exercises Watt's fifth-year option

The Steelers exercised T.J. Watt's fifth-year option from his rookie contract.

Watt, the team's No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is coming off the best season of his young career. Watt was named first-team Associated Press All-Pro, voted to the Pro Bowl for the second time and was selected as the Steelers Most Valuable Player by his teammates.

His stats were beyond impressive last year, finishing the season with 14.5 sacks and had multiple sack games four times, including two sacks against both the Rams and Dolphins, and a sack and a half against the Bengals and Colts.

Watt, who was a finalist for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, finished the 2019 season ranked in the top-five in multiple NFL categories, including sacks (tied for fourth with 14.5), quarterback hits (third with 36), forced fumbles (tied for 1st with eight) and fumble recoveries (tied for second with four). He became the first player in the NFL to rank in the top-five in those categories since his brother, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, did so in 2014.

And it doesn't stop there. He was also the first NFL player since 2008 to have at least 14 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 36 quarterback hits, eight forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in a season. Watt was also the only NFL player since 1990 to register at least two interceptions, four fumble recoveries and eight forced fumbles in a single season.

But he is never easy on himself despite all of the success.

"I left a lot of plays out there this year," said Watt. "I am more motivated now than I ever have been."
Watt might be alone in his thought that he left a lot of plays out there. With the season he had, recording a career-high in sacks, there wasn't much he left out there and he credits the experience he has gained over the years for that.

"It's just working hard and getting more and more experience," said Watt. "This was my second year playing the left side. I am just growing and learning how I can approach the game better, find out what works better for me as far as film study, practice and preparation. Hopefully I can keep taking those jumps as I progress in my career."

For his career Watt has 34.5 sacks, 18 pass defenses, 15 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 177 tackles in 47 games.

This offseason the team signed Watt's brother, fullback Derek Watt, who joined the black and gold after playing for the Chargers.