- JJ Watt announced on Twitter that he is joining the Arizona Cardinals
- Watt signed with the Cardinals after playing 10 years for the Texans
- Arizona still faces long +3300 odds to win Super Bowl 56
Last March, the Houston Texans shockingly traded All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. Less than a year later, another Texans icon is making his way to the desert.
On Monday, the Arizona Cardinals announced that the team has agreed to a two-year deal with former Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt. Watt was released by the Texans last month after asking the team to terminate his contract. Watt preempted the team’s announcement with a social media post of his own on Monday afternoon:
source: me. pic.twitter.com/1Y6okQBUy5
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 1, 2021
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported shortly thereafter that Watt has agreed to a deal that will pay him $31 million over the course of two years. The pact includes $23 million in guaranteed money.
While Watt was expected to make his decision shortly after leaving the Texans, the decision to sign with the Cardinals is a bit of a surprise. Many believed Watt would make his way back to his home state of Wisconsin to play with the Green Bay Packers. There was also talk of his potential to join his brothers, TJ and Derek, with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Watt’s Stellar Track Record
The 31-year-old played the first 10 years of his career with the Texans after being selected with the No. 11 overall pick in 2011. Watt won three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards in a four-year span between 2012 and 2015 and instantly became one of the most iconic players in the brief history of the Texans franchise.
Watt Has Dealt With a Number of Injuries in Recent Years
While that has sapped some of his effectiveness, he still finished last season ranked 15th out of 119 qualified players in pass rush win rate. Watt appeared in all 16 regular-season games for just the second time in the last five seasons, finishing with five sacks and 52 total tackles for one of the NFL’s worst teams.
Watt leaves Houston as the franchise’s all-time sacks leader (101). In Arizona, he will team up with Chandler Jones to form one of the most fearsome defensive lines in the entire league.
The Cardinals finished 8-8 last season and just missed out on an NFC postseason berth. Arizona is seen as an up-and-comer thanks to the quick development of young quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray has become one of the most prolific dual-threat quarterbacks in the league despite having been a pro for just two years.
The Cardinals were already one of the most prolific teams in the league in terms of getting to opposing QBs, so the strong are getting stronger with this move. The Cardinals averaged 3.0 sacks per game, which was tied for the fourth-best mark in the league in 2020.
Cardinals Still Underdogs In Loaded NFC West
While adding Watt provides a much-needed boost to the defensive line, Arizona is still something of a long-shot betting option when it comes to winning next year’s Super Bowl.
A lot can change over the course of one offseason, but NFL betting sites currently have Arizona at +3300 to win Super Bowl 56. That gives the Cardinals the worst Super Bowl odds of any of the four teams in the NFC West.
The Los Angeles Rams (+1300), San Francisco 49ers (+1500), and Seattle Seahawks (+2500) provide Arizona with some pretty stiff competition in the division. As you may expect, the Cardinals face long odds to win the NFC West, as well. The Cardinals are listed at +500 to win the division, which puts them behind Los Angeles (+180), San Francisco (+200), and Seattle (+300).
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