J.J. Watt has a new NFL home. On Monday, it was announced the three-time Defensive Player of the Year will sign a contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says Watt's contract will be a two-year deal worth $31 million and $23 million guaranteed. This signing comes after Watt asked to be released from the Houston Texans after playing for the team for 10 seasons. He confirmed he was signing with the Cardinals on his Twitter account.
Watt has been one of the defensive linemen in the league for the last 10 years. He was drafted by the Texans in No. 11 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft and had a breakout season in 2012, recording 20.5 sacks and 16 passes defended. He recorded 20.5 sacks again in 2014, making him the only player in NFL history to record multiple 20-plus sack seasons. He has led the NFL in sacks twice (2012, 2015) and has posted 101 sacks in his career.
source: me. pic.twitter.com/1Y6okQBUy5— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 1, 2021
"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," Watt said 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."
Welcome to the Valley, @JJWatt!
We have agreed to terms with J.J. Watt on a two-year contract.— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) March 1, 2021
Watt has also won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award three times in his career. Since entering the NFL in 2011, Watt leads the NFL n tackles for loss (172), quarterback hits (281), multi-sack games (26) and sack yards (713.5), while ranking second in sacks. In 2020, Watt became the fourth-fastest player in NFL history to record 100 sacks, reaching that mark in his 120th career game.
Watt's release from the Texans comes while quarterback DeShaun Watson requesting a trade from the team. Towards the end of the 2020 season, Watt expressed his frustration on the lack of wins the team had (finished the season 4-12).
"They care, every single week,” Watt said when talking about the Texans fans as reported by Yahoo Sports. “We’re in Week 16, we’re 4-11 and there are fans who watch this game, who show up the stadium, that put in time and energy and effort and care about this. So if you can’t go out there, you can’t work out, you can’t show up on time, you can’t practice, you can’t want to go out there and win, you shouldn’t be here. Because this is a privilege. This is the greatest job in the world. You get to go out and play a game."