Would J.J. Watt head to the Music City?
The Houston Texans will begin a new era down at NRG following recent decision making. The Texans and defensive end J.J. Watt elected to part ways after a decade of success.
The Texans will save not just $17.5 million in cap space, but they’ll also save a legacy of Watt’s time with the franchise. That could be one of the few players who is given that treatment under the new regime of Nick Caserio, Jack Easterby and Cal McNair.
Watt now will have the option to sign with any team on the market, but could he be petty and stay in the division? If so, the Tennessee Titans would be a team to watch for due to the connection between Watt and head coach Mike Vrabel.
Should the Titans look to invest in Watt?
Watt and Vrabel have ties due to their time in Houston. Vrabel worked under Bill O’Brien as the team’s linebacker coach and later defensive coordinator from 2014-17. During that span, Houston never finished below a top 10 in total defense.
It’s more than that for the Titans though. Back in 2017, Watt’s foundation helped raise over $41.5 million in Hurricane Harvey relief for the city of Houston. Titans owner, Amy Adams, donated $1 million out of pocket to help the home of the AFC South franchise recover after a year of so much travesty.
That, plus Watt’s relationship with the former defensive coordinator seems to connect Tennessee as a potential free agent destination.
The Titans defense finished 28th in total yards allowed last season and 30th in total sacks with 19. They also were among the worst teams in terms of stopping offenses on third down, allowing them to convert over 54 percent of the time.
Watt’s addition to the front seven would be terrifying for a team looking to rebound. His ability to add pressure in the backfield still allows him to be one of the top pass rushers in the league at 32. However, would he be willing to sign for a lower price?
With Houston shipping players off left and right for the past several seasons, it would make sense for revenge games to be on the schedule. However, Watt might be willing to join Tennessee, not due to the rivalry, but rather the camaraderie between him and a coach.
In the end, respect is earned. The Titans’ past might have gained their shot back in 2017.