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J.J. Watt to Arizona for $31 Million Over Two Years

J.J. Watt has picked his new team, and it's not one of the teams that had been rumored. Watt will head to Arizona for a two-year, $31 million contract with $23 million guaranteed. Color me surprised, because some of the rumored other teams (Green Bay, Buffalo) seemed like better opportunities to get to a Super Bowl.

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38 comments, Last at 04 Mar 2021, 3:00pm

1 I called it...

I said he'd go to the Bucs or Arizona...

Arizona has as good a shot as any in the NFC to make the SB, plus he is reunited with the best WR in the NFL.

This is why you don't pay attention to "rumors"...


2 "Yeah...

In reply to by DIVISION

Don't pay attention to those Hopkins trade rumors..."

-Cardinals in 2020

6 Too New.

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Hopkins recruited Watt to the Cards.

All Keim had to do was show him the money.

I don't honestly think the Packers were ever seriously in consideration.  He wanted to play indoors in a warmer climate.

Cards D-line just got major push with Watt joining Chandler Jones.

8 Too relevant*

In reply to by DIVISION

Watson rumors were right too.

And I haven't even moved off the Texan rumors🤣

11 Watson rumors?

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Watson will sit out a year.

There are no rumors.  That's coming from the player himself.

19 It's not a rumor...

...if it's coming from the player's own mouth.

Similar to all these hot takes regarding Watt going to Green Bay.

He was never going there.

Cleveland or Arizona.

People were making up their own rumors, which amounts to nothing.


10 They could have freed up the…

They could have freed up the money that it would have taken to sign Watt. But he ended up commanding a near-top-of-market deal rather than more a modest prove-it type of number, so given the nature of their needs, I think the Packers just had to pass on sinking that much money on one player - especially one who is injury-prone. Watt could have given them an elite pass rush, but they have an urgent hole they need to fill at CB, something that can totally undermine their pass rush. Watt would also have been a huge upgrade to their run defense, but run-stuffing DTs can be found much more cheaply as role players.

I do hope GB is planning to make one or two signings - they definitely don't avoid FA like they used to - but Watt at this price probably wasn't the right fit.

13 DE is thin

Lowry and Keke isn't exactly the best group. Also Watt played more last year than Wagner and Kirksey did the year prior to signing them. Wagner hadn't played 16 games since 2015 (still the only time he's started 16 too). Kirksey had only played 9 games over the prior two years. It would've been perfect. But I fear they're being cheap again, coming off another NFCCG.

It was the right balance of trying to win now and not hurting future comp picks (the intention of the Wagner and Kirksey signings).$15.5m for Watt, 17th in DL AAV, 28th in total guaranteed is appropriate. I would have bowed out if it was a couple mil more but it wasn't. Find a way to make it work when you're on the cusp like this or you might find yourself in the same spot. Just like this year. Sigh...

16 It's definitely my hope that…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

It's definitely my hope that they're not balking at spending the money, but rather that they saw the price tag and figured they can pick up a #2 CB and still address one or more further needs, like DT. We'll see.

9 Your info is old.

In reply to by DIVISION

Smiths, Amos and Turner in 2019. And then cut guys like Wagner and Kirksey last year (and Watt this year, to avoid hurting comp picks).

12 Your info is bad.

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The Packers were never in contention for Watt.

It was down to Cleveland or Arizona and he wanted to play with Hopkins and thought Kyler was a better QB than Mayfield.

Cleveland is a mirage.  They're going to have to remain run-heavy to avoid exposing Mayfield or he turns in to a pumpkin.  Their defense isn't good.

Arizona has a much brighter future with more impact players on both sides of the ball.

Watt and Hopkins are better than anyone on the Cleveland Browns!

14 Yeah...ok

In reply to by DIVISION

What source do you have that it was those final two? 

Still doesn't change that your info on the Packers being outdated. Which is fine because you seem to be an AZ homer with all this inside info.

20 The Source...

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

...was JJ Watt.   Evidently, he enjoyed being courted by the Cards' owner and they were talking to Watt right after he got released and selling him on the team, as well as Hopkins.

According to Watt, the team he would be playing for also would need to have a young promising QB that he considered a game-changer (like Watson) and he basically chose Kyler Murray over Baker Mayfield.

I'm sure there were other factors, but those are the main ones.

All these old GM's sitting around thinking they could slow walk the FA process and get back to Watt later on really lost out.  He wasn't going to wait.



31 Do your own research.

Between interviews with Watt and some quotes from Arizona insider journalists, it's all on the internet.

If I can find it, you can find it.

Evidently, Watt wanted to be courted and Arizona really took the baton there whereas the other teams didn't reach out enough.

Zona got Blake Shelton/Gwen Stefani, Frank Caliendo and others who live in Phoenix to personally call Watt and sell him.

There aren't many celebs who live in Cleveland.

25 Okay, I'll feed the troll…

In reply to by DIVISION

Okay, I'll feed the troll... even though you're not really a troll, just overexcited about your team sometimes.  

The Browns made the playoffs last year unlike the Cardinals.  Also, Myles Garrett is younger and better than the current JJ Watt, if not a better or more even tempered person.

I seem to remember you melting down over Kingsbury's decision making down the stretch, and yet you're laughing at a team that actually won a playoff game and gave the Chiefs a scare.  Stepanski also won coach of the year.  The Browns are set up to regress some, but I wouldn't be counting them out of anything until the next season starts.

30 A big what if is going to be…

A big what if is going to be Baker Mayfield. I think he's in the Jimmy G, Kirk Cousins category of QB, which is pretty good but not good enough to compensate for slippages in offensive line play or receiving. I get that OBJ was out the year and will be back(though we have no idea what quality of receiver he is at this point) and the defense may get better if anything. I am just in general pessimistic. 

32 Baker's ceiling.

Last year was a clear illustration of how Baker SHOULD be used.  Heavy run game with play action and deep shots when they're there.  He's not going to win them games on his own like they thought he could earlier in his career.

There was one fan who had a perfect quote:  "Mayfield plays like he thinks he's Kyler Murray".

Running should not be a major factor in his game.

I agree that he can be Kirk Cousins if all goes right.  I think he's better than Jimmy G.  Unfortunately, I don't think he's ever going to be a game-changer at QB.


18 Surprising move

One might have thought Watt might have his choice of suitors, and either go all out for a ring, or at least find a more prestigious destination than the historical laughing stock that is the Cardinals. 

I guess there just weren’t many offers for a 32 yo DL with an extensive injury history, at that price. 

As for the Cardinals, Watt can still play, but he really doesn’t move the needle much. Their future is entirely tied to the development/health of Kyle Murray. I was extremely discouraged with the coaching/scheming I saw there last year, and I have concerns about Murray’s durability; he was badly banged up by the end of last year. That division is brutal. I certainly think the Cardinals have the weakest coaching of the 4.

21 Packer's Fan?

Move the needle?   Teaming up the two top sack leaders from this last decade is moving O-Lines and needles galore.

Not many defenses can boast having two edge rushers that can each demand double teams.  Cards will be much better this year in defensive DVOA.  

Kingsbury is still new to the NFL but considering the division and the fact they were down to the last game of the year for a play-in game, not bad.  He needs to mix up his play-calls and stop being so conservative.  Designed runs are good, but you don't want Kyler taking too many hits.  

Cards will be favorites with L.A. for the division.  Seattle is going to struggle due to the RW debacle and the effect it has on the team and their defense is still poor.  San Fran will be bad as long as Jimmy G is their QB.  

Going all in for Watt was a power-move and Keim was smart to grab him.  

If you think $15M/year for a HOF player like Watt is too rich, then you deserve to sit on the sidelines like Green Bay, Buffalo and Cleveland.  

If you aren't improving, you're getting worse...

24 Your post hinges on two…

In reply to by DIVISION

Your post hinges on two assumptions;

1) JJ Watt is still a terrific player and manages to stay healthy

2) Kyler Murray improves a lot

If neither happens, then Arizona is a cut below a number of teams. If I were Watt and the SB was my primary ambition, I would have chosen some other teams. 

33 I'm biased, baby SlotHooker!

Life's a risk.

I took a low gamble on the SB and won a pretty decent amount.

The Cards are taking a fairly low risk gamble on Watt being an above average edge rusher for two year and it will pay off handsomely.  The fact that they already have Chandler Jones on the other side is what will make the impact well worth it.  The only way it doesn't work is if Watt is injured.  Otherwise it's a win.  Adding strength to strength.

Murray will be fine.  He is already better than Russell Wilson was two years in to his career.  I would argue that he's better than Lamar Jackson right now.  If he can improve his reads and quicken his decision-making, he'll be fine.  He has enough weapons on offense to do what he needs.

The Cardinals will be a great bet to win the NFC West.  I like their odds more than Seattle or San Fran.  L.A. is going to be a challenge.

28 Yeah, SF will never go to…

In reply to by DIVISION

Yeah, SF will never go to the Super Bowl with Jimmy G.

Also, define "decade."  From 2011-20, Watt is 2nd and Jones is 4th not top two (per PFR/Stathead) - Miller is 1st and Houston is 3rd.  Jones and Watt are Top 2 since 2012, when Jones entered the league.  But of course most of Watt's came in the 1st half of that period. 

This move makes sense IF Watt stays healthy and IF pairing Watt with Jones improves Watt's production (and/or Jones').  I would not bet heavily on either of those; in general I think chasing aging stars in free agency is not a good strategy.

34 yes.

Getting to the SB and losing because your QB can't complete simple 20 yd throw over the top to win a game is worse than not even making it.

They literally collapsed last year, mostly due to injuries, but Jimmy G is horrible.

The Cards already have a decent D-line with Chandler Jones coming back, so Watt just makes the potential dominant.  Would not be surprised to see them being the best defense in the division.  


29 Total Troll

In reply to by DIVISION

Little d is a total homer troll but this line actually made me laugh the hardest - 

"If you think $15M/year for a HOF player like Watt is too rich, then you deserve to sit on the sidelines like Green Bay, Buffalo and Cleveland.  "

Three teams that were in the playoffs and not sitting on the sidelines. What a treasure!

26 Cards even with Watt are not…

Cards even with Watt are not the best team in the division let alone the NFC.  If miners are healthy they are better and if Seahawks get their act together they are better, possibly the Rams also.  Bucs and Packers are also better. So it’s about the money not about really winning a ring.  Just be honest about it.

36 Based on what the teams having coming back..

I don't see Seattle or San Fran being in it this year.  Russell Wilson doesn't want to be in Seattle and that's going to affect the team to some degree.  Their defense is still poor and the weakness of the team.

If the Cards can win the NFC West, they'll be fine against the rest of the NFC.  It's a true barometer.  I haven't been sold on the Packers in years due to them being exposed by NFC West teams in the playoffs.  

The Bucs will be the team to beat in the Conference.  I thought Watt would go to them before Arizona but apparently they didn't reach out.