Texans grant J.J. Watt his wish, release former first round pick
By Cory Kinnan
Today is a sad day for fans of the Houston Texans as a staple member of the organization is on the move.
Their first round pick from the 2011 NFL Draft has asked for his release from the team, and the organization has granted his wish. For the first time in his life, Watt will have the ability to test the market after spending the first decade of his career in Houston.
Where will Watt end up next after the Texans opted to pass up draft capital in return for him?
Where do Texans go from here?
After trading Jadeveon Clowney, and now cutting Watt, the Texans now have no productive edge rushers left on their roster. This will be a focal point of them this offseason in free agency and in the 2021 NFL Draft, however with their roster deconstruction about to take place, it seems unlikely they will be competitive in the near future.
With no draft capital at the moment (although that could change with the likely trade of Deshaun Watson), the Texans will have to find an edge rusher either mid-day two of the 2021 NFL Draft or on early day three.
Where Texans salary cap now sits
The release of Watt clears up 17.5 million in cap space for the Texans, now giving them just over four million in wiggle room. This is still less than ideal for a team that will have to cough up over six million just to trade Watson this year, and will have to find cap space for their draft picks as well. Look for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Duke Johnson, and Benardrick McKinney to come on the trade market soon as well.
Fits for Watt in the future
There are already a ton of rumblings that Watt will look to take a paycut and team up with his brothers with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This, however, barring the minimum is highly unlikely for the Steelers. They already have his brother’s extension to think about, as well as the extension of Minkah Fitzpatrick.
For the first time in his life, Watt will get to test the market coming off of a top-ten season in 2020 in terms of pass rush win rate while leading the league in double teams. Watt is going to test the market, and Watt is still going to get paid like the top-ten edge rusher that he is. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.