Cardinals To Sign J.J. Watt

The J.J. Watt sweepstakes are over. The heavily decorated pass-rusher has chosen his next team, and that’ll be the Cardinals, Watt announced himself on Twitter.

This was no cheap signing for a veteran player chasing a ring, Watt got paid. He’s getting a two-year deal worth a whopping $31MM with $23MM of that guaranteed, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Watt made it known from the outset that he only wanted to go to a place where he could win a Super Bowl, and clearly he’s excited about what Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray have cooking.

We heard last week that Watt had received an offer in the $15-16MM range, and that turned out to be spot on. He was also connected to playoff teams like the Browns, Titans, Packers, Steelers, and a couple of others. Watt will now rejoin former Texans teammate Deandre Hopkins, who recruited him on social media, in the desert.

Hopkins won’t be the only familiar face for him, as Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was on staff in Houston for Watt’s first three pro seasons. It’s a coup for Joseph, who will now have an intimidating pass-rushing duo with Watt lining up opposite fellow All-Pro Chandler Jones.

As Josh Weinfuss of ESPN tweeted, Jones is first in the NFL in sacks since 2012, and Watt is second. They’ll be a problem for any offensive line. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year had struggled with injuries for a few seasons, but he played all 16 games in 2020.

He only registered five sacks but was a constant disruptor, and had 14 tackles for loss and seven passes defended. He still graded out very well in most pass-rush pressure metrics.

Watt is the first massive domino to fall with the start of free agency right around the corner. This signing could mean the Cards are planning to move on from impending free agent Haason Reddick, who just registered 12.5 sacks in a breakout 2020 campaign. Arizona will host Houston in 2021, so Watt will have a chance at revenge on his old team. The question now becomes whether he’ll be chasing Deshaun Watson or not when that game happens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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60 comments on “Cardinals To Sign J.J. Watt

  1. MasterCal

    That’s kind of unexpected. Would’ve figured Cleveland to land him, but ARI is a good fit. They now need to really upgrade their CBs

    • DarkSide830

      so much for the people who thought he wasnt going to a contender you mean

      • Stabby McShank

        You think he might have aimed for a team that didn’t finish a distant third in their division and couldn’t beat out the Mitch Trubiskey lead joke of a bears squad for the last wild card. Ahh well, maybe in two years when they can shed that ballooned contract, he can go hunt a ring..?

  2. ron swanson

    Cardinals are the worst team in their division if the 49ers are healthy. I love J.J. and it’s his choice to make but he definitely chose money over chasing a ring.

    • Prospectnvstr

      The way I see it the NFC West will split their division series. That’s 3-3. The other 10 games will be the deciding factor. As stated in the article,even though his sacks were down Watt put up solid #’s despite being double teamed most of the time. He also played the whole season. Saying that he’s “washed up” is completely false.

      • Ak185

        I think that you may responded to the wrong comment. Ron never called him washed up.

    • davidkaner

      If he wanted a ring…GB, TB, KC, Buffalo ….AZ is 2 years and 3 players shy

  3. Hannibal8us

    While he definitely went to a better team it looks pretty obvious that he went for the paycheck even though he said his main focus was winning. Hard to imagine Cleveland, Green Bay or the Bills would give so much for a hurt aging vet.

    • HailRodgers12$

      The only legit connection to GB is that he’s from Wisconsin. Even if he’d been willing to accept a significantly lower deal, the Packers are still currently over the projected cap, and have a couple of their own fa’s to try and retain, plus a draft class to sign. Seems to me the only way GB had any shot at him was if he was willing to play for the vet minimum.

    • Yep it is

      Cleveland , Green Bay or Buffalo aren’t winning anything other than maybe a division anytime soon. They won’t be in the SuperBowl. The Cardinals have as good as chance as those 3. San Fran is a QB mess. The Seahawks are soon to be if this thing goes sideways and the Rams are the biggest threat.

      • Hannibal8us

        Cards didn’t even make the playoffs last year with all those teams being a “mess”. Cleveland, Pack, and Bills were within striking distance last year. I get that you like the Cards but they need to make the playoffs first before they can even be called contenders. This was 100% a money move.

      • RonJohn00

        2 of the final 4 and 1 of the final 8 in the playoffs last year are not closer to being super bowl contenders than a team that missed the playoffs? LOL

      • “The Cardinals have as good as chance as those 3.”

        This is demonstrably false when you look at what each team accomplished last season. Bills and Packers were in their respective championship games and the Browns made it to the Divisional round. Cardinals didn’t even make the playoffs and lost 5 of their last 7 games.

      • twentyforty

        You better check that sandlot midget QB before making comments that Arizona will ever win….

  4. despicable_you

    He’s washed up. All these jock sniffers are completely irrational.

  5. Rangers29

    Not a big NFL fan, but with D-Hop, Murray, Watt, and whoever else they have, what is a projected record for them next season?

    • CamFrost

      I would say 8-8 or 9-7. That division are all somewhat close to each other on paper and when healthy.

    • DarkSide830

      i get the divison is stellar, but they looked good last year and Watt makes them better.

    • j_butte

      The Rams should be better with Stafford, the Niners should be better with a healthy Jimmy G, and the Seahawks will always be good as long as Russ is there. Right now the Cards are no better than 3rd in the division. 7-9 or 8-8

      • sportznut1000

        @j_butte has the cardinals at 7-9, 8-8 yet the schedule isnt even out yet for next year. Solid DD.

        Im a niners fan so ill take 7-9 from cardinals but its waaaay to soon to start pegging them with a record.

    • amk1920

      They are not a good team. Basically top heavy like the Rams but even worse depth wise.

  6. Good thing the Texans did not even bother to try to trade him. If the Cardinals were willing to pay this much, you have to think they would have given up some kind of pick to get him for the 1 year, $17.5 million that was left on his deal. The Houston Clown Car moves on.

  7. beerncheese

    I was hoping packers at a reasonable cost. Not to be. I did guess the money right as I predicted 24 guaranteed $$$. Too rich for pack as they need help at CB LB and DL. Not to mention signing own FA’s.

    Oh well. Good luck to JJ in AZ.

  8. slugger7

    We’re gonna shock the NFL let’s shut some mouths next season #AZCARDS

  9. Renotribefan

    Wow…that’s more than I was expecting him to get both in money and years. I guess the years are less surprising, but this sounds like paying for a name as opposed to paying for recent production. Then again, I don’t follow the Cardinals closely, so maybe he’ll get less double teams there? But this could be Jadaveon Clowney 2.0, except that was only for 1 year.

    And yes, I’m biased, but a 1 yr deal with the Browns, opposite Myles Garrett and in an aggressive system seems like it could’ve led to an overall bigger payday and a better chance at winning. Of course, that would’ve required production this year to earn a new contract next year, so I can’t blame him for going for the years if the financials were most important to him (which it appears they were).

    But at that price, I’m kinda glad the Browns didn’t sign him.

  10. CoachWe

    What is AZ thinking? Love Watt, but he cannot play full time and will see down time. This year is a bonanza for finding quality FA’s on the cheap. Buyers market and AZ does this?

    • Prospectnvstr

      He played all season last year. His sacks were down. Other than that he had a very productive season, despite being double teamed most of the time. It’ll be interesting to see him when he has another stalwart to ward off the double teams.

  11. driftcat28

    So Watt will not be getting a super bowl ring in the next two years. Maybe he’ll sign with a real contender for one last try after this contract is up

  12. Y2KAK


  13. justme

    My first thought was maybe they promised more additions but seen with him they are maxed out on cap a different division they probably good enough to contend..but hawks healthy niners and stafford rams all better…unless they restructure some deals make some more additions they are 9 and 7 at best…jj either delusional or cash was king in this case and thats not a knock on him get paid while u can but dont claim being on a sb contender was your biggest priority.

  14. Tatsumaki

    Niners and cards will battle for 3/4th respectively. Rams and Seahawks are the best in division right now.

  15. metsie1

    Now people are going to see just how washed up JJ Watt really is. Injuries have really taken a toll on him.

  16. Simmons>Russ

    Cardinals to draft some protection for Kyle in the first round. My guess is Alijah Vera-Tucker. Cards going to be good offensively, good at pressuring the opposition QB and stopping the run. Just need a CB to stop the deep ball

      • sportznut1000

        Im a niners fan so not biased here. @stabby mcshank you are trying way too hard to troll on here. Your are responding to every comment about kyler murray not being a legit QB. The guy is in what, his 3rd season? I believe he was the #1 ranked qb in fantasy until he got hurt. Obviously fantasy is a different animal than real life but 32 teams need a starting qb. Id say the cardinals easily have a top 10 QB right now.

  17. Ak185

    Too bad. I was hoping to see him in Cleland or Tennessee, since Pittsburgh was an obvious long shot. Arizona could be a playoff team next year, and this will certainly help their defense, but I just don’t know if Murray and Kingsbury will really ever get better than they are currently. Maybe that will be enough in the end, though. Tennessee really would have been interesting, given the rivalry and also Vrabel’s presence there (especially interesting if Clowney re-signed too).

    I suppose the money was the deciding factor after all.

    • mlbnyyfan

      He should of gone to GB. I guess he’s more interested in money than winning.

  18. RonJohn00

    It’s funny how all these journalists buy into the “I want to go to a contender” spiel but the player always manages to talk himself into selecting the team that offers the most money. They’re is just putting on a show so that whichever team offers him the most money can pretend that they’re a contender for signing him.

    The cardinals need more than JJ Watt to contend for their division, and they need much much more to contend for a super bowl. It makes me kind of sad that JJ Watt is going to end up retiring without getting a ring but this is what he wanted it.

    • CoachWe

      Especially the drivel coming from some of these QB’s, who after they get their huge pay day, try to blame the organization for not having the resources to fill needed holes. And then the media is right there to back up there bs.

  19. sportznut1000

    To be fair, lets maybe wait until we see how free agency and the draft play out before saying a team “is or isnt a contender”. Hell, the 2022 schedule isnt even out yet and there are people on here posting predictions of the cardinals record next year. How is that even possible?

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