J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans have been interlinked for nearly a decade.
When Watt has been healthy, the dangerous pass-rusher has been arguably the greatest player in Texans history. Watt is an NFL legend who should have no issues entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame when his time comes.
Nothing is forever, however. Is Watt, one of the most beloved athletes in Houston’s sports history, quietly playing his final snaps for the Houston Texans?
J.J. Watt is a Houston Texans legend
The most alarming stat about J.J. Watt’s 10 NFL seasons is that he has only made five Pro Bowls.
Making a Pro Bowl may not mean what it once meant, but Watt has been among the NFL’s most dangerous defenders since he entered the league in 2011. This is the same J.J. Watt who once had an eye-popping 39 tackles for loss in 2012, his second NFL season.
Injuries have gotten in Watt’s way for years, however. He’s only played one full season since the 2016 season began. That hasn’t stopped Watt, 31, from posting Hall of Fame-caliber numbers.
Through Week 6 of the 2020 season, Watt has 99 career sacks, 24 forced fumbles, 161 tackles for loss, and scored two defensive touchdowns. Watt also has six sacks and nine tackles for loss to his name in the postseason.
The debate between Watt or wide receiver Andre Johnson for the honor of the greatest player in Texans history will be a fierce one for years to come. At least, until Deshaun Watson plays a few more seasons.
This could be Watt’s final season in Houston
Officially, J.J. Watt is under contract with the Houston Texans through the end of next season. Watt will tentatively hit free agency in the spring of 2022 at 33 years old.
Could Watt be out of Houston before then? The Athletic recently asked its NFL beat writers to project the upcoming trade deadline.
Aaron Reis, the Texans’ beat writer, openly pondered J.J. Watt’s future in Houston.
“J.J. Watt, who has no guaranteed money left on his deal, which expires at the end of next season, would likely net the Texans more picks than either wide receiver. But trading the face of the franchise at the deadline seems unlikely. If the Texans do that, they’re more likely to do so in the offseason, with a new GM making the decision.”
The trade deadline is Tuesday, November 3.
At 1-5, Houston may just be playing for pride at this point. Tennessee is poised to run away with the AFC South Division, and Indianapolis, despite some speed bumps, should be in play for a wild card berth.
Where could J.J. Watt play next year if he’s not in Houston?
At this point, it is too early to think the Houston Texans will part ways with J.J. Watt after the season, much less trade him — or even cut him and let him play elsewhere — this year.
But if that happened, where could Watt go? His brother, T.J., plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers and has developed into a terrific player there.
Another brother, Derek, is the Steelers’ fullback.
If Watt wants to win a Super Bowl, he could surely consider Pittsburgh. But his playing time likely won’t be what it is in Houston.
Watt is originally from Wisconsin and finished his college career there. Could the five-time first-team All-Pro selection team up with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay?
If the Vikings weren’t 1-5, maybe Watt would consider rejoining his former head coach, Gary Kubiak, in Minnesota. Kubiak is the Vikings’ offensive coordinator.
Texans fans shouldn’t start preparing for the end of J.J. Watt’s tenure just yet. But they’d also be wise not to rule out the idea of him finishing the 2020 season in another uniform.