Mutual Interest Between J.J. Watt, Bills

Although he is about to turn 32 years old and just posted the lowest single-season sack total of any season in which he was able play a full slate of games, J.J. Watt finds himself in high demand. The former face of the Texans, released by Houston last week, looks like a good bet to land a multi-year pact in short order.

Over the weekend, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News suggested that the Bills, who were among the teams linked to Watt in the immediate aftermath of his release, are unlikely to make a major free agent splash this offseason. Instead, Carucci said he expects Buffalo to use the majority of its cash on an extension for QB Josh Allen, which would keep the club out of the hunt for premier free agents like Watt.

However, ESPN’s Kimberley A. Martin reported that the Bills have indeed inquired about Watt, and that the interest is mutual (Twitter link). Carucci’s sources confirmed as much, saying that the Bills and Watt’s agent, Tom Condon, have been communicating. Interestingly, Condon also represents Allen, so perhaps he and Buffalo GM Brandon Beane can get a lot of work done over the coming days.

Watt is looking to join a contender with a top-tier quarterback, and the Bills, fresh off an AFC Championship Game appearance, certainly qualify. But there are about six teams that remain in the running, including the Browns, Titans, Steelers, and Packers, and all of them made the postseason in 2020. So while Carucci hears that Watt may start narrowing down his list in the coming days, it’s difficult to find a true frontrunner at the moment.

It’s easy to see why the Bills are seriously considering Watt. In addition to the fact that he is seen as a good fit with the team-first culture that Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have helped create in western New York, the Bills were just 20th in the league in quarterback pressures last season, and their top two defensive ends, Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, are 32 and 33, respectively. Of course, Watt isn’t too far behind in terms of age, but while Watt graded out as the seventh-best edge defender in the league last year according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, Addison was the No. 78 ED.

The Bills are right up against the cap, so theoretically, they could release Addison to create a little more than $6MM in space and then put that money towards a contract for Watt. Spotrac projects a two-year, $24MM deal for the five-time First Team All-Pro.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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33 comments on “Mutual Interest Between J.J. Watt, Bills

  1. arty!

    I hope Watt has continued success. But there are reasons why he was cut. Old, pricey, and under performing.

    • cubs2016

      Or ya know, because he didn’t want to be on a rebuilding team that is in shambles.

      • arty!

        So if an iconic, Hall of Fame player won’t be faithful to a team, why should fans?

        • Is anyone asking fans to be loyal here? If a player wanting to be on a contender rustles your jimmies, there’s the door. The NFL will be just fine without you. Trust me, they do not care.

          • arty!

            Yes, teams ask their fans to be loyal. And frankly, they are too a fault. Excluding last year, the majority of times you saw bad teams playing they still had fans. Cleveland, DC, Oak, Jax; always had fans in the stands.

        • colonel sanders

          I mean, if you have no problem shifting your allegiance from a team that easily, I personally question the dedication in the first place. But that’s just me. You are absolutely free to shift to another team going no where with an iconic, Hall of Fame player.

          • arty!

            I never said I was shifting to/away from any team. Personally, I’m a fan of the game & don’t have a favorite team. No different for me than NCAA football. I went into the military then work after that. I don’t have an alma mater that I watch all of their games.

    • viercjm

      He wasn’t cut. He asked for his release and the Texans granted it. He didn’t want to be part of a rebuild in Houston, and wants a chance to play for a contender, which the Texans are not. Come on, man, even with being double-teamed on almost every play he had a solid year, just not All-Pro.

      • markdavisbarber

        He also did it in a class way. Mr. Watt went and asked the proper people, he took the proper steps, he did not turn to social media to plead his case….

        That is why he was released and not cut. This saved everyone on all fronts and allows for Mr. Watt to return a hero to the Houston Texans when his playing days are complete.

        An eventual Win Win for all involved……

        • arty!

          Your just using different vocabulary. Cut, waived, fired, or released; have the same meaning.

          • robluca21

            He asked to be cut. I think you’re missing the point and focusing too much on the wording

            • arty!

              He didn’t quit, Watt was fired from his contract. Sure he asked out, but again its just verbiage. Watt still had a 1 year left on his deal. Since they wouldn’t take a cap hit, all guarantees had been paid, they cut him.

                • arty!

                  I get it. You love Watt. So therefore he can not be fired, even though he was. Unlike Sherman Williams or Patrick Peterson, both great and most likely Canton bound, they are FA’s because their contracts expire in March, Watt’s didn’t; he was cut. Fight it all you want but he was fired.

                  • Brownsbacker9

                    Just like I got fired by the Post Office. Most people call it retirement though. I asked them to no longer pay me and they obliged. Actually I’d rather the Browns sign Carl Lawson from the Bengals or even Bud Dupree before wWatt

                    • arty!

                      If you were fired by the post office, kiss your benefits goodbye. If you quit, you can work for another gov agency and still get your benefits.

                      You must have really failed to get fired by the post office. Wow that’s a new low.

                      • Brownsbacker9

                        You can get fired from the post office and still keep your retirement. You’re wrong again fartsy.

          • Arty!
            Dude you just aren’t getting it…and it doesn’t seem like you will despite every other commenter telling you that you are wrong. His contract was not guaranteed for this year and by asking for his release he gave a rebuilding, going nowhere team the option to get out of paying a player 17.5 million dollars. Does that make sense to you?

            • arty!

              Sure does. He was under contract w/o penalties so they fired him. Makes perfect sense for a rebuilding team. Get rid of high cost, low performing players.

              But as all commenters should tell you, Watt was under contract in 2021. The Texans cut him. Out of date player not more complicated than that.

  2. frustratedpittsburghpiratesfan

    I am sure he will decide weather the highest bidder wins or if he wants to join a Super Bowl Contender. Most people say “pay the man”! We will see how this plays out??

    • gtb1

      He was going to make 17 million + playing for Houston next year – not likely to get that elsewhere. Not about money. Unusual in this day and age but he genuinely wants a chance at the ring. Cal’s made some bone head moves but this was a class act. Watt will be an asset wherever he goes and will always be loved in H -Town.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I’m sure Rory appreciates you took a break from reading your comic books to provide that constructive criticism.

  3. Jesse Thomson

    J.J. get the tables! Even if he’s not in his prime, he still has a presence on the field I think the defence is lacking. Great gamble in my opinion depending on the money.

  4. MileHighFan

    Watt is no longer the player he once was, but he can still be a major contributor.

    As for the Bills, their defense wasn’t the force that they like to make it out to be, as they finished in the middle of the league, despite playing six games against the kindergarten-like offenses found in the 2020 version of the AFC East.

  5. Buffalo Smitty 2

    If he looking for a team with a top tier quarterback then out of the Bills, Browns, Titans, Steelers, and Packers, the only ones that have it are the Bills and Packers.

  6. I would be shocked if he signed with anyone other than the Packers or the Steelers

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