JJ Watt is leaving the Houston Texans. The star defensive end—and likely the best player in franchise history—clearly wanted off the team, and after a discussion with the McNair family, he is getting his wish. Many eyes are turning to the Pittsburgh Steelers with this big news.
“I came here 10 years ago as a kid from Wisconsin who had never really been to Texas before. And now I can’t imagine my life without Texas in it,” he said to fans in a video posted to Twitter. “The way that you guys have treated me – except for draft night, you booed me on draft night – but the day after that you treated me like family.”
Watt will be released, giving him the freedom to choose his next team. A few obvious options have emerged in the short time since this news broke. The Green Bay Packers would be a true homecoming for the Wisconsin native and Badgers alumnus. And then there is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) February 12, 2021
JJ Watt isn’t the same player he was from 2012-2015, when he won three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, but he’s still a very productive player, and could certainly help a contender like the Steelers.
JJ Watt was on the worst DL in football last season and a pitiful defense. Keep that in mind when considering his numbers & what he has left. I’ve studied a handful of games and he’s still one of the most skilled DL in the NFL with 75-80% of the physical side. That’s a ++ starter
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) February 12, 2021
Watt, who has been hit hard by injuries since 2016, played all 16 games in 2020, which was a great sign. He still put up pretty good numbers—52 tackles, 14 TFLs, five sacks, a pick six—playing on one of the NFL’s worst defenses.
TJ Watt, meanwhile, challenged Aaron Donald for Defensive Player of the Year honors, recording league highs with 15 sacks, 23 TFLs, and 41 quarterback hits in 15 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Adding JJ to that defensive front would be pretty scary.