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AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

Steelers, Packers Among Top Landing Spots For J.J. Watt


The Houston Texans released three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, arguably the best player in franchise history, today. Watt is now a free agent and can sign with any team immediately, and there shouldn’t be any shortage of suitors for the 31-year-old defensive lineman. Here are Watt’s top landing spots for 2021.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Watt has made plenty of money throughout his career, and he might feel the only thing missing from his resume is a championship. Clearly, players want to join Tom Brady and company in Tampa Bay because they feel it’s a spot they can win titles, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of such a fun group—it was on full display during the Bucs’ boat parade earlier this week. The Buccaneers are trying to keep everyone from last season on the roster, but there might still be room for Watt (if he’s willing to take a huge pay decrease) to join a deep defensive line and play alongside Vita Vea and others on the interior.

 

Green Bay Packers

The Packers were Watt’s childhood team, and he might pull a similar move to idol Reggie White by joining Green Bay for the second act of his NFL career. Watt went to college at Wisconsin, and he’d probably love to return to the area to play for one of the league’s most iconic franchises. Also, the Packers have been a game away from the Super Bowl in two consecutive seasons, so they figure to contend again in 2021—Watt may feel he’s a piece that can help get them over the hump.

 

Las Vegas Raiders

You can say this for a lot of great players because of how excited they get about football, but it’s just easy to see Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock desperately wanting to bring J.J. Watt into the building—and the respect likely goes both ways. The cap situation for Vegas isn’t great, but they can get flexible (they are already saving nearly $12 million by cutting receiver Tyrell Williams), and teams can typically find a way to make things work money wise if they really want a player. Watt could help elevate a defense that needs the lift as they look to get to the postseason.

 

Washington Football Team

Washington could be poised to take a big step forward next season, and it starts with the defense. With Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne (along with Ryan Kerrigan, but the two sides may part ways this offseason), the Football Team is stacked on the defensive line. However, they have the cap space to pay Watt, and his veteran presence would give the young group a boost. Watt can play all over the place in Ron Rivera’s defense, and owner Daniel Snyder isn’t opposed to signing big-name players.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Finally, the most likely scenario feels like J.J. Watt landing in Pittsburgh to play with his brothers T.J. and Derek.

T.J. is already hinting that there’s a chance this might happen, and you’d be naive to think the three brothers haven’t discussed the possibility of all playing together in the NFL. Again, Watt has made plenty of money and probably wouldn’t mind taking a pay cut, especially for this scenario. Yes, the Steelers are pretty stacked in the front seven, but you can never have too much depth; Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and company seem like the type of guys to welcome Watt in with open arms.

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