JJ Watt surprises, chooses to sign with Arizona

Watt was expected to pursue teams such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Green Bay, but instead, chose the guaranteed money


Watt’s departure signals a time of reckoning in Houston. If the Texans trade Deshaun Watson, they will have lost three generational talents in the span of two years.

Nico Panos, Contributing Writer

As one of the most renowned defensive players in the league, 32-year-old defensive end JJ Watt commands respect. Though his play has regressed over the past few years, any team would like to have a figure like Watt in their locker room.

This is not the first star Houston Texan wanting to jump off of the broken saddle. Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson’s frustration with the organization has been brought out and into the open as he looks for a ticket out of Houston. Watt recently demanded his release from the organization, becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his illustrious career.

Much speculation has been made as to where the three-time Defensive Player of the Year would decide to go. Some predicted Watt would return to his roots in Wisconsin and help the Green Bay Packers get over the NFC Championship Game hurdle. Others have been excited about the possibility of Watt joining his skilled younger brother TJ in the Steel City of Pittsburgh in the growing rebirth of the Steel Curtain defense. The now diminishing New England Patriots may have also had a shot to land Watt as they look to bounce back after a down year.

On Twitter, Watt surprised many around the league by posting a picture of himself in an Arizona Cardinals shirt while lifting weights.

While it is a surprising choice, sources say that his contract spans two years and has $23 million guaranteed, with $9 million more in incentives — indeed, Watt is getting fed well in this deal.

Why might Watt have chosen the Cardinals over other NFL powers who look much closer to Super Bowl berths? Well, for starters, a good paycheck is usually something no mortal man can pass up, especially given the high-risk situation Watt finds himself in after missing 32 of the possible 80 games over the past five seasons. Also, he is joining a defense that already has a top-tier pass-rusher in Chandler Jones. This creates a scary combo on the defensive side of the ball for the Cardinals.

Finally, an interesting point can be made concerning the role former Houston Texan and current Cardinal wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins may have had in leveraging Watt away from other potential suitors. Though no official sources have confirmed this a possibility, it is quite intriguing to consider the effect this past relationship may have had on Watt’s decision. It is unquestionably going to be odd seeing Watt in the Cardinal red, but if this past Super Bowl has taught us anything, an old star moving to a historically poor team may just end in an NFL title.