JJ Watt spent a full decade with the Houston Texans, building a brilliant career. He won two Defensive Player of the Year awards, made five Pro Bowl teams and twice led the league in sacks.
His 10-year run included five trips to the postseason, though the Texans had a disappointing 4–12 run last season. A disgraceful attack soon ensued, with the team hunting for a new coach and general manager, dissolving his relationship with star quarterback DeShan Watson.
As a result, Watt requested his release from the team to play for a contender. Texas accepted his request, and soon speculation was echoing where Watt might end up.
Watt himself broke this news on Twitter:
Source: Me. pic.twitter.com/1Y6okQBUy5
– jj watt (@jjwat) March 1, 2021
ESPN’s Adam Shekre reported that the deal is for two years and $ 31 million, with $ 23 million guaranteed.
If you ask Las Vegas, the Cardinals (in 40–1 overs) do not appear to be Super Bowl contenders. Post Watson’s frustration was a major criterion after Watson left Texas. The Cardinals last made a playoff in 2015, which was also their record for the last time.
Perhaps Watt feels that the future in Arizona is looking bright. He would team up with NFL sacks leader Chandler Jones from 2012. Watts are in second place during that time frame; Together they made a total of 192.5 sacks.
And, he will rejoin a pair of former Texans in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Watt will get some familiarity by being comfortable in his new environment. He has got one of the league’s most exciting young quarterbacks in Kyle Murray.
To be fair, the Cardinals played several one-score games last season, despite finishing 8-8. They can very easily finish something like 11-5 next year and score a postson run. And Watt won’t have to do all this on the defensive end.
There is also another bonus incentive that may have played a factor in Watt’s decision: The Cardinals play the Texans this year. Watt tells it his all, but it would be extra sweet if he could beat his former team.
Watt turned 32 years old on March 22, and said that all signs were “pointing back here to Arizona” as he made his decision. We will see how this decision goes, but we know one thing: he will be ready to work.