After his release from the Houston Texans, star edge rusher J.J. Watt reportedly has a dozen potential suitors.
The Houston Texans have repeatedly found the spotlight, and it all comes thanks to their dysfunction. While the team was expected to move on from star edge rusher J.J. Watt this offseason, no one thought it would come in the form of an outright release. But that is exactly what happened, and they are allowing Watt to find his new team without any restrictions.
So who is interested in the elite pass rusher?
According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, approximately a dozen teams have already shown interest in Watt after his release. The only teams Werder specifically identified as potential suitors are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.
Watt commanding a huge market
The Steelers being named by Werder should not come as a shock whatsoever. Watt’s brothers, linebacker T.J. and fullback Derek, are under contract with the Steelers. It only makes sense for J.J. to join them in Pittsburgh. The only issue is that the Steelers are massively over the cap due to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s contract. Would Watt be willing to take a deep discount to play in the Steel City?
Then there are the Browns, who almost pulled off the massive upset over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. Cleveland is in great shape heading into the new league year, as they are set to have $29.7 million in cap space, per Spotrac. With Olivier Vernon heading to free agency, the Browns can add Watt as an immediate upgrade on the defensive line and to create a devastating duo with Myles Garrett. That could very well help Cleveland make a push for another deep playoff run in 2021.
Last offseason, the Titans spent money on free agent pass rusher Vic Beasley and Jadeveon Clowney to help their pass rush. Those experiments did not pan out, as Beasley was waived after seven games and Clowney recorded zero sacks in eight games. As a team, the Titans recorded a team total 19 sacks on the season, the third-fewest in the NFL. If the Titans want to have a better finish to their campaign, signing Watt to improve their pass rush would help.
As for the Bills, they accumulated a grand total of 38 sacks throughout the 2020 regular season. Is adding Watt a necessity? No, he would be more of a luxury. This is a team that has Super Bowl aspirations with Tom Brady out of the AFC East, and signing Watt would show just that. Heck, wide receiver Stefon Diggs already got a head start in recruiting the edge rusher!
This past season, Watt recorded 52 tackles, 17 quarterback hits, seven passes defended, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception through 16 games.
Where will J.J. Watt sign? We’ll get our answer once the 2021 league year starts next month.