Earlier this week the Houston Texans fired their head coach and general manager, Bill O’Brien. A move seen by some as brash and rushed despite the fact that O’Brien did everything he could to lose that job.
With the move though it signals an end of an era for Houston and a possible rebuild. O’Brien through a series of one head scratching move to another dismantled the roster, cap space and draft picks.
One of the main people to force O’Brien out of town was the face of the Texans entire franchise JJ Watt after the two reportedly got into a shouting match.
Watt officially holds the keys to the city of Houston. He is the most influential person in Texans history.
But for how much longer?
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) October 6, 2020
The idea was brought to my attention by Colin Cowherd. And while I don’t like admitting that I agree with him. I sort of do on this front.
The Texans right now should be like an upset girlfriend right now who just dumped her boyfriend. Trying to rid herself of anything that resembles that relationship. Deleting social media pics, shredding pictures, throwing sweatshirts into a cardboard box.
And then there’s the diamond necklace that is JJ Watt. It’s sentimental, it’s beautiful it resembled everything that was once about love and purity.
But… It needs to go.
The Texans don’t have draft picks much cap space ($8.5 million this year, -14.5 million next year) thanks to Billy O’Brien. So what do you do to get those? Sell off big names that are near the end of their prime or already out of it.
If you are Houston, you keep Deshaun Watson (duh) even Watt agrees with that. And according to Cowherd offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Which I sort of agree with, gotta keep your QB safe and he’s as reliable as you get on the blindside.
And JJ Watt, thanks for the memories. You will always be Houston. Number 99 will be retired. But for a currently 0-4 team, with no true contention aspirations on the horizon a 31 year old pass rusher with with two years on his contract left and owed $15.5 million this year and $17.5 million next year. None of it guaranteed by the way. He’s simply a luxury.
It’s like the Baltimore Orioles spending giving a closer $15 million, it’s an expensive luxury.
So let’s break down some landing spots for JJ Watt for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
The Cowboys defense right now is in a sad, sad state. They have allowed the most points in the league thus far.
They handed out a huge deal to Demarcus Lawrence another pass rusher and he has been disappointing since the pay upgrade.
So why not add JJ Watt? They need a spark on defense and he could provide that to them immediately. They have registered only 8 sacks through four games and rank near the bottom of the league in terms of stopping the run.
They desperately need a presence like Watt on that front.
And for Watt, he doesn’t leave Texas. He only increases his brand now playing with the star on the side of his helmet. It’s a trade that almost makes too much sense.
The Cowboys have $24.9 million in cap this year and $16.4 next year.
It’s a perfect match.
This is a terrifying thought. The Ravens added Calais Campbell this past off season for practically nothing at all, and to imagine that they could perhaps pair him with Watt?
They are already 5th in the league in points allowed. As well as in the middle of the NFL with nine sacks.
It’s not exactly a position of great need for Baltimore but nowhere is for them. This would just be to flex their muscles because they can.
The rest of the AFC seems to be stacking up pass rushers. In their own division, Pittsburgh and Cleveland are dangerous fronts to go up against. Indianapolis has vastly improved and of course Kansas City with Chris Jones and Frank Clark.
For Baltimore, fighting fire with fire might not be a bad idea. They have $9.7 million in cap this season and a ridiculous $44.7 next year.
Not exactly a contender that most would imagine but hear me out on this one.
They have plenty of cap space and this past off season Brian Flores went out and spent some cap space to bring in some veteran defensive talent like Kyle Van Noy and Byron Jones.
And with Watt on the books for just a year plus, it’s not a strict financial anchor for Miami to bear. If Flores is trying to build the culture the right way, for a young team, is there anyone better than Watt?
Only hang up is Miami has two first round picks this year, one of those being Houston’s. Is Watt worth one of those first round picks? No, hard pass.
I’ll be honest I have no idea how they make this one work. They gave up two first round picks for Jamal Adams, and have $3.9 million in cap this year but do have $20.5 million next year.
A big issue for Seattle in 2020 has been getting to the quarterback. With only six sacks on the season they are 27th in the category. They desperately need a pass rusher.
They were the ones to work out a deal for Clowney in 2019, so they have Houston on speed dial, although it will be someone other than Bill O’Brien making the deal this time.
Watt could be an immediate impact and address a huge need for a Seahawks defense that is struggling this year. A year where with how Russell Wilson is playing, it would be a shame to ruin it.
New England Patriots
As a Patriots fan, who regularly consumes Patriots twitter, I’ve seen plenty of people wanting to make this one a reality.
Whenever we hear about a seemingly disgruntled star, immediately eyes turn to the Patriots and Bill Belichick to make a move for them. There is certainly precedent for it. Corey Dillion, Randy Moss, Albert Haynesworth, Chad OchoCinco, Antonio Brown.
And when you look at Watt it’s not like he is a distraction for his team. He would 100% buy into the Patriot way.
New England’s defense is tied for 8th in points allowed. But with only six sacks on the season there could be cause for alarm.
They certainly have the cap space for the move with $23.8 million this year and a whopping $63.9 million next season, Watt would barely make a dent.
But I doubt Belichick would be willing to sink that sort of money into a 31 year old, lately, injury prone pass rusher.
The Pats against the Seahawks with Wilson and the Chiefs with Mahomes. Made it a priority not to strictly get to and chase after the quarterback but rather keep him in the pocket and pressure him but make him throw.
With that being said the Patriots have hurried the quarterback on 18.7% of drop backs. That is second in the league to only the Pittsburgh Steelers at 22% who might have the best defensive line in football.
The Patriots don’t need JJ Watt.
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