In the near future, a safety will sign a deal worth $20 million annually. Maybe not this offseason, but Minkah Fitzpatrick's market-setting deal sets the stage for it to happen in 2023.

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Fitzpatrick to a four-year, $73.6 million extension, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Since the AFC North club acquired him from the Miami Dolphins in September of 2019, he's recorded 203 tackles (144 solo), 27 pass breakups and 11 interceptions (two pick-sixes). The 25-year-old is also a two-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro.

The safety market has grown rapidly over the past year.

Last offseason, Justin Simmons (four years, $61 million), Jamal Adams (four years, $70 million) and Harrison Smith (four years, $64 million) signed big-money extensions with their respective teams.

With Fitzpatrick's contract topping the market at $18.4 million in average annual value (AAV), Derwin James and Jessie Bates III can surpass or come close to matching that mark. At 31 years old, Jordan Poyer's age will likely prevent him from getting a top-of-the-market salary if the Buffalo Bills sign him to an extension.

Even though he's coming off an All-Pro year, Poyer doesn't have a resume that compares to Smith (six Pro Bowls and an All-Pro season), who signed his new deal at 32 years old. Also, the Bills have little wiggle room in cap space with quarterback Josh Allen cashing in $43 million per year on a long-term contract.

Interestingly, agent David Mulugheta represents both James and Bates, so he can use some of the same tactics to negotiate deals for the two safeties.

Mulugheta has a much better chance to talk the Los Angeles Chargers into making James the highest-paid player at the position.