On Friday, the Houston Texans made the decision to release pass rusher J.J. Watt, one of the most influential members in their franchise’s history. While the three-time Defensive Player of the Year will turn 32 next month, there are several teams interested in acquiring his services. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, approximately a dozen teams have shown interest in Watt since he was released. Werder also name dropped four franchises in the mix for Watt: The Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.
The Steelers are considered by many to be a favorite to land Watt, as his younger brothers T.J. Watt and Derek Watt play in Pittsburgh. Additionally, Steelers pass rusher Bud Dupree is a free agent and could be in line for a big payday, so the Steelers could potentially have an opening on the edge. Ending a Hall of Fame career with family while contending for a Super Bowl certainly sounds appealing.
The Browns are an interesting landing spot considering Watt would be directly competing against his brothers in the loaded AFC North. Cleveland did get back to the postseason this past year for the first time since 2002 and is expected to take another step forward in 2021, but you would imagine if Watt was to head north, he would likely team up with his brothers instead. Either way, Watt could serve as a versatile and dynamic piece in Cleveland’s 4-3 scheme, and no team would be excited about having to protect their quarterback from the likes of Watt and Myles Garrett. Similarly, the Bills are a team that made a run in the playoffs and work in a scheme that includes four down linemen.
As for the Titans, they are an interesting landing spot considering they share a division with the Texans. Nothing indicates Watt’s breakup with Houston wasn’t amicable, but maybe something in him would be tempted to go up against his former team twice a year. There is also a connection with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who worked with the Texans as a linebackers coach for three seasons, and then defensive coordinator for one. The Titans are certainly a team that will be in the mix for a pass rusher in the coming months. Last offseason, they broke the bank for Jadeveon Clowney, who played in just eight games and didn’t record a sack, and took a chance on Vic Beasley, who was released after playing in just five games. The Titans were again one of the worst teams in the league at getting to the quarterback, as they recorded just 19 sacks on the season. It’s no surprise several teams are interested in signing Watt, but the Titans are certainly an interesting name that Werder mentioned.
CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo identified five potential landing spots where Watt could thrive. Check out his article, here.