The Texans granted J.J. Watt‘s request to be released, but interest in taking the future Hall of Famer’s through-2021 contract did emerge in recent days. New Texans GM Nick Caserio took calls on Watt over the past two weeks, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter).
It does not sound like the Texans could have collected a prime asset for the soon-to-be 32-year-old defensive end, who was attached to a $17.5MM 2021 salary. But other teams were willing to acquire him via trade, Robinson notes. Watt is coming off a 16-game season and will certainly generate widespread interest on the open market.
Regarding the three-time Defensive Player of the Year’s future, Watt will prioritize landing with a contending team, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. No signing is expected before next week. Betonline.ag slots the Steelers, Buccaneers and Packers as the early frontrunners for Watt, while Fowler lists the Patriots, Titans and Rams as other potential destinations. The Bills profile as the best Watt fit, per NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah (on Twitter).
Watt signed a six-year, $100MM extension with the Texans in 2014. While he would have been on track for another record-setting pact had major injuries not intervened in 2016 and ’17, Watt has now played 16-game seasons in two of the past three years.
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