With training camp holdouts essentially eradicated by the new CBA, a smattering of hold-ins — reporting for camp but not fully participating due to a dissatisfied contract — dot the NFL landscape.
In Pittsburgh, for instance, star pass-rusher T.J. Watt, who finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2020, isn’t taking part in team drills as sides hope to hammer out a new contact.
Consternation toward these hold-ins varies from team to team. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is among those not fretting about the situation with his star and cornerstone of defense not being on the field in early August. In Tomlin’s view, these things have a way of working themselves out.
“Not unique at all, really,” Tomlin said Tuesday, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “That negotiation process is going to run its course. Some run their courses faster than others. If I remember correctly, Cameron Heyward had less than 100 percent participation when he was in a similar circumstance a short time ago.”
Heyward, in fact, inked a four-year, $64.6 million extension a little more a week before the 2020 season started. Watt’s payday projects to be much bigger, so we’ll see if it takes longer for the Steelers to get it done.
Neither team owner Art Rooney II nor Tomlin seems worried about Watt missing reps at this stage. If anything, the coach is glad to give other players additional snaps — like newcomer Melvin Ingram — as the Steelers try to figure out their edge-rushing rotation outside of Watt.