- Texans star JJ Watt was released on Friday
- Watt hits the free agent market with plenty of teams expected to be interested
- Where will he sign this offseason?
Okay, seriously now, what is going on over in Houston?
The ship appears to be on fire, everyone is abandoning it, and Cal McNair and Jack Easterby are clinging on to go down with it, but no doubt Easterby is preaching that this is all part of God’s plan as the conflagration rages, tearing the structure around them to sunders.
Nick Caserio must be wondering why he decided to go there considering he’s now clinging to a door in the water like Kate Winslet at the end of Titanic. Meanwhile, J.J. Watt is suddenly rowing to the shore having escaped the inferno’s clutches, and it seems as though Deshaun Watson won’t be far behind no matter how hard they try and sacrifice him to the flames. Meanwhile, the fans watch from the shoreline, wondering how the fire started, and how they managed to alienate their most important team stars.
The one positive here is that at least they had the good sense, respect, and gratitude to allow JJ Watt to escape, because whether he wants to abandon ship now or not, he hasn’t just been serviceable for ten years, he’s been downright legendary as both a player and a leader. Possibly the league’s most philanthropic man, after his endeavours post-Hurricane Harvey, deserves to go and chase a ring and not to go down with a team unrecognisable from several years go.
Still, as free agency approaches, Watt has a few weeks to observe other teams, chat to them, and find the fit best for him, so where does it make sense for him to land?
How ’bout them Cowboys? An American hero on America’s team? Why not? Well, I guess this depends on how the Boys fare when locking up Dak Prescott for the coming year, because I doubt Watt will be keen to join should Dak be on the move, but if he does remain in Dallas, I have no doubt there’d be interest from Watt.
He could form a devastating pass-rush with Demarcus Lawrence, replacing Tyrone Crawford who is due to hit free agency. Between them, Lawrence and Watt would get a ton more pressure on opposing QBs, and if Dak does Dak things post-injury, they could very well blow teams away all the way to the NFC Title game. They definitely have the cap space, and the real positive for JJ is that he would get to stay in the state he loves.
Still, as good as all this sounds, I doubt Watt will be around by the time Dallas sorts the Prescott situation as he won’t want to miss his shot at landing on another potential championship team, but should he be willing to gamble, maybe Dak will see the team signing Watt as a step in the right direction, and that the Cowboys want to put him in the best position to win.
This just makes massive sense for the Browns, but does it make sense for Watt? Yes, the Browns were phenomenal this season but there are still a lot of questions surrounding the defense which is their reinforcement priority this off-season.
No doubt JJ Watt is an immediate upgrade over Olivier Vernon who is headed to free agency, and Adrian Clayborn. He’d get to line up with Browns star Myles Garrett which would be formidable, and the Browns have the space to make this move.
But does Watt consider the Browns capable of going all the way to the big game? There are still questions surrounding them, but that seems to be more due to the fact the Browns have a losing history as a franchise rather than doubts surrounding this current team’s ability.
Also, considering the rejuvenated rivalry between the Steelers and Browns, this would be a nice game for the family, as he Watt would get to go up against his brothers. Speaking of…
Well, he’d get to play alongside two of his brothers, and that counts for something. Watt is a dedicated family man. They’re essentially the Kardashians of the NFL, and the chance line up with not one but two of your brothers, TJ and Derek, in the NFL is a rare thing indeed!
Let’s not pretend the Steelers aren’t contenders. They are. It looks like Big Ben will be lacing up his cleats for another year, and their offensive weapons are wonderful despite being somewhat outspoken, but that defense is nothing short of elite. The option to add to that by bringing in Watt should be an exciting prospect to all Steelers fans.
The only issue here is that the Steelers have some cap to juggle with Bud Dupree heading to free agency, but they could make this work if they decide to let him go or make various roster changes which I expect them to do.
I love this move for multiple reasons but the primary one, and this sounds really, really sad, is that it moves JJ Watt home, and whether he loved Houston or not, he’s been away from his hometown of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, for a long time. He even wore a University of Wisconsin hoodie during his farewell video to the Texans fans, and maybe that was considered, but that may be me looking too deeply into it. I really hope not.
Other than that, it’s about time Aaron Rodgers had some support other than Davante Adams, and the franchise decided to load up and really take a run at a Super Bowl with him. We’ve seen what Rodgers can do with limited weapons, but the defense really needs some added quality.
It’s going to be difficult with regards to cap space for Green Bay, but Watt is worth the juggling, and the magnetism of returning home for a twilight run at a ring could get the job done.
My final pick would be the Bills. They are a contender, the offense is absolutely balling, the defense is also incredible, but Watt has the ability to improve even that.
Sean McDermott is a defensive wizard, and simply put; if Watt wants to not only chase a ring, but be the guy to really bring it home, Buffalo is the best fit.
Cap space isn’t too much of an issue as there are various moves the Bills are due to make this off-season that will more than make up the space required, and let’s be honest, it isn’t as though they really need to add to that offense unless they go after Aaron Jones…
That’d be fun.