J.J. Watt asked for his release from the Houston Texans on Friday morning, and the team agreed to part ways with the veteran player. Watt has been with the team since his first season in the NFL (2011) and has put together a Hall-of-Fame career in his ten seasons with the franchise.
"The connection I have with the people of Houston is special, and I will never take that for granted because I know how rare it is. I just want you to know that I love you and I appreciate you," said Watt via a message to fans via social media. "I want to thank the McNair family for drafting me and giving me my first opportunity in the NFL. Thank you, Houston."
Watt is a three-time winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award and has been selected to the All-Pro First Team five times. In ten seasons, Watt has recorded 101 sacks which rank 31st in the NFL. He has also posted 25 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries, two interceptions and four defensive touchdowns.
Watt is 31 years old and still has some good football left in him. Before he was released, Watt was entering the final year of his contract with the Texans was set to make $17.5 million. Here's a look at seven teams who could sign Watt.
Green Bay Packers
This might make the most sense since Watt is from Wisconsin and played college football at the University of Wisconsin. Watt grew up a Packers fan, and with the team being a Super Bowl contender, Packers fans would love to see this happen.prevnext
This also makes sense because his two brothers, Derek and T.J., are also on the roster. Derek is the team's fullback and T.J. is like J.J. in the sense he goes after the quarterback. Having T.J. and J.J. Watt and pass rushers would be a dream for any NFL squad.prevnext
Watt could be a good locker room leader for a team that's on the rise. The Titans are set offensively with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running Derek Henry. They just need that defensive playmaker, and Watt could be that guy.prevnext
New England Patriots
Without Tom Brady, the Patriots could never get anything going last season. They will have a new quarterback in 2021, but getting more defensive help won't hurt them. Additionally, Watt fits in the scheme Bill Belichick wants to run defensively.prevnext
The Browns took a huge step forward in 2020, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and winning their first playoff game since 1994. The team has a bonafide pass rusher in Myles Garrett, but adding Watt could get the Browns to become a legit Super Bowl contender in the fall.prevnext
The Bears defense was strong last year, but the addition of Watt could put them over the top. He would take the pressure of Khali Mack who recorded nine sacks this past season.prevnext
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Watt teaming up with Tom Brady? That could happen, especially if the team doesn't re-sign their top linebackers, Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David. Tampa Bay could interest Watt as the team won the Super Bowl on Sunday and are favorites to win it again next year.prev