Monday afternoon, former Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt revealed his new team. He announced that he is joining the Arizona Cardinals, which creates questions about his jersey. The reason is that Watt will not be able to wear No. 99 with his new team.
According to longtime Cardinals reporter Darren Urban, the team actually retired No. 99. Marshall Goldberg, who played for eight years and was part of the 1947 championship team, wore the number during his final seasons before becoming a member of the team's Ring of Honor. His jersey number is only one of five that the Cardinals retired. The other four belonged to Larry Wilson (No. 8), Pat Tillman (No. 40), Stan Mauldin (No. 77), and J.V. Cain (No. 88).
With this update, there are questions about which number Watt will don during his Cardinals tenure. He wore No. 99 during his Wisconsin career, as well as his 10 years with the Texans. Now he will have to find a different option. As a defensive end, his options are fairly limited, especially with the majority of the 90s taken by other players. Though 91 and 93 are both currently available.
Another interesting uniform note surfaced on Monday after Watt revealed the big news. He is a former Walter Payton Man of the Year winner, a fact reflected with a special patch on his jersey. The Cardinals already have a Walter Payton Man of the Year winner in wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. If No. 11 returns to the Cardinals for another season, he and Watt would make history as the first teammates to simultaneously wear the special patches on their jerseys.
Regardless of what number Watt wears, the Cardinals fans expect to see him make a major impact in very short order. After all, he is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year with 101 sacks in his NFL career. He also has three receiving touchdowns from the 2014 season.
Watt has dealt with injuries in recent seasons, but he still has the ability to make big plays on a regular basis. One example is the interception against the Detroit Lions that he returned for a touchdown on Thanksgiving day. Another is the fact that Watt has five seasons with more than 10 sacks. This list includes him topping 20 sacks two separate times.
There are questions about whether Watt will reach double-digit sacks again after only posting five in 2020, but the fanbase has made it clear that it is ready to see him try. Several prominent figures have weighed in about the signing, including country star Blake Shelton. He issued a special statement on behalf of the Cardinals saying that other teams can "suck it."