Pittsburgh Steelers make Minkah Fitzpatrick highest-paid safety in NFL history

What does Minkah Fitzpatrick bring to the Steelers' defense? (0:48)

Dan Orlovsky breaks down why Minkah Fitzpatrick is such an important part of the Steelers' defense. (0:48)

PITTSBURGH -- Minkah Fitzpatrick is starting his summer vacation with a nice payday after securing a deal to become the NFL's highest-paid safety.

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed their star safety to a four-year extension that will pay Fitzpatrick more than $18.4 million per year, WME Sports, Fitzpatrick's agency, confirmed to ESPN's Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

Fitzpatrick was also given $36 million guaranteed at signing, Schefter confirmed.

"I am very excited," said Fitzpatrick. "I am still kind of in shock right now. It's a blessing. I am really excited. It's just the beginning. I am appreciative. I am thankful. Now I just want to keep on chopping."

The five-year contract includes the four-year extension that starts in 2023 on top of the one year Fitzpatrick had left on his previous deal. It is the first major contract negotiated by new Pittsburgh general manager Omar Khan and outpaces Jamal Adams' deal for $17.5 million per year.

"We are very excited to sign Minkah to a new five-year contract," Khan said. "Minkah is one of the top safeties in the NFL and we are thrilled he will be in Pittsburgh through at least the next five years. When we traded for him, we knew he was going to be an integral part of our defense, and we look forward to that continuing as we prepare for the upcoming season."

Since the Steelers acquired Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2019, the Alabama product has hauled in 11 interceptions and scored three defensive touchdowns. He also has forced three fumbles and recovered four.

In signing Fitzpatrick, the Steelers have invested significant resources in securing their defensive anchors in T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward and Fitzpatrick through at least 2024. Last season, the Steelers signed Watt, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, to a four-year, $112 million extension.