T.J. Watt Becomes NFL's Top-Paid Defensive Player, Brother J.J. Wants Payback

T.J. Watt got paid, which means his older brother wants payback.

J.J. Watt, the Arizona Cardinals defensive end and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, joked about receiving payback from his suddenly very rich younger brother, who became the NFL's highest-paid defensive player Thursday.

T.J. Watt led the NFL with 15 sacks and was the runner-up to Aaron Donald as NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. But he has not practiced or participated in Pittsburgh Steelers off-field activities while holding out for a new contract, and he was in danger of missing the Steelers' season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

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T.J. reportedly became the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL after signing a four-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday. Bob Levey/Getty Images

But Pittsburgh rewarded the two-time All-Pro outside linebacker, who has 49 1/2 career sacks in his four seasons in a Steelers uniform, with a reported four-year, $112 million contract with $80 million guaranteed. The Steelers reportedly expect Watt to be on the field and playing his customary position for their Week 1 game.

T.J.'s new contract announcement left J.J., T.J.'s older brother by five years who signed his own two-year, $31 million contract with the Cardinals during the offseason, to ask for reimbursement for all of the "outstanding IOUs" he'd dealt out through the years.

.@_TJWatt should I send those outstanding IOU’s to your accountant or do you want to just Venmo me?

— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) September 9, 2021

J.J. is a five-time All-Pro who spent his first 10 NFL seasons with the Texans before they released him February 12. J.J. Watt has accrued more than $115 million in earnings during his NFL career, according to Spotrac. He's made even more in endorsements, so he can sleep soundly knowing he'll probably remain the highest-paid Watt, even with T.J.'s new contract. He can probably also afford to let T.J.'s outstanding debts slide—at least for the time being.

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J.J. Watt chided his brother online for "outstanding IOUs" after T.J. Watt signed a four-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday. Stacy Revere

While J.J. was asking T.J. to pay up, their brother Derek Watt—who also is T.J.'s teammate in Pittsburgh—was posting a more traditional congratulatory message on Twitter about T.J.'s new deal.

T.J.'s fiancee, Dani Rhodes, who is a pro soccer player in Iceland, shared a congratulatory post on her Instagram stories.

"Hardest working person I know. There is no one more deserving," Rhodes posted. "Congratulations babe. I'm so beyond proud of you. I love you & can't wait to celebrate soon."

Derek wasn't the only Steelers teammate to share their excitement at T.J.'s new contract. Joe Haden, a Pittsburgh cornerback, and Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, also posted congratulations.

Congrats @_TJWatt !! 🔥💪🏾💰 https://t.co/pXHq5z9mew

— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) September 9, 2021

I could Cry!!! Congrats fam! U deserve every penny!! I got to Pittsburgh your rookie year and you have done nothing but display professionalism and play at the Highest level in the league!!! Let’s get it brother SWAT!!! @_TJWatt !!!! https://t.co/h6Rme6dvAA

— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) September 9, 2021

T.J. ignored J.J.'s online taunts and his teammates' well-wishes, instead choosing to address Steelers fans directly to let them know how happy he was to remain with Pittsburgh.

If it’s ok with Yinz, I’d like to stay a while!! LETS GO PITTSBURGH!!!! pic.twitter.com/itjnF7XNLd

— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) September 9, 2021