Steelers sign fullback Derek Watt, who joins older brother T.J. Watt in Pittsburgh
The Steelers will have a Watt on both sides of the ball in 2020
Two-thirds of the Watt brothers will play for the Steelers in 2020. On Wednesday, the Steelers officially announced the signing of former Chargers fullback Derek Watt, eight days after the team came to terms with Watt on a two-year deal that will pay him $3.25 million per season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Watt is the younger brother of Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt and Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt, who is expected to land a new deal with the Steelers this offseason.
Like his brothers, Watt attended the University of Wisconsin, averaging 5.0 yards per carry during his senior season. He also spent three seasons in Madison blocking for Melvin Gordon, who later became his teammate with the Chargers.
A sixth round pick in the 2016 draft, Watt helped Gordon become one of the NFL's best running backs during their four seasons together with the Chargers. After rushing for just 641 yards as a rookie (the season before Watt joined the Chargers), Gordon averaged nearly 1,000 rushing yards per season from 2016-17. Gordon also saw his yards per carry average climb from 3.5 to 4.1 yards with Watt as his teammate.
Watt is also regarded as a formidable blocker in pass protection, as former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was routinely one of the league's least sacked quarterbacks during Watt's time with the franchise. Watt will now be tasked with helping protect another member of the 2004 draft class in Ben Roethlisberger, who is looking to rebound in 2020 after missing 14 games last season with an elbow injury.
The addition of Watt is likely a response by the front office to Steelers president Art Rooney II's recent statements about his desire to see an improved Pittsburgh rushing attack. The Steelers have finished 31st and 29th in the NFL in rushing over the past two years. Watt is also expected to make a significant contribution on special teams.
Speaking to the team's website this week, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said that Eric Ebron, former Eagles/Chiefs OL Stefen Wisniewski, and former Ravens DT Chris Wormley, acquired via a trade with Baltimore.s anytime soon. Along with Watt, the Steelers' free agent acquisitions include former Pro Bowl TE
"I think we're up against it pretty good," Colbert said of the Steelers' salary cap situation. "We've made a lot of anticipated moves that we wanted to make. Unfortunately, we've had to make some subtractions from the roster. Can we still do some things further down the road? Sure. But in the short term, I would say that we're temporarily … I don't want to say out of business, but we're satisfied with where we are at this point. We'll continue to address it as this continues to unwind."
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