J.J. Watt’s free agency saga is over less than a month after it began. On Monday, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year announced via Twitter he is signing with the Arizona Cardinals. Adam Schefter later reported it is a two-year, $31 million deal with $23 million guaranteed.
Watt spent the first 10 years of his career with the Houston Texans, but asked to be released following the 2020 season due to what was viewed as a disconnect between Watt and the organization. He’s part of a parade of stars who have left Houston in recent years, including DeAndre Hopkins, who is also now with the Cardinals. Quarterback Deshaun Watson requested a trade earlier this offseason, but the Texans are yet to grant that request.
Arizona is a bit of a surprise landing spot for Watt. Teams like the Steelers, Packers, and Bills were seen as the favorites, while the Cardinals weren’t even listed among the initial odds from sports betting website Action Network.
A five-time All Pro, Watt has been hampered by injuries in recent years. He played 16 games in 2020, but it was just his second season playing more than eight games since 2016. The 31-year-old recorded five sacks and 14 tackles for a loss last season.
Watt joins what should end up being a ferocious pass rush. He’ll line up opposite from former Patriot Chandler Jones, who had 19 sacks in 2019 before missing most of 2020 due to an injury, assuming Jones isn’t traded or released.