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Tracking the latest free agency rumors for J.J. Watt

Texans star defensive lineman is now on the market. Where might he end up in 2021?

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) looks up during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We are already into the thick of the NFL offseason and that means free agency. Teams can’t contact free agents until March 15th, but news of the top players will circulate as we close in on that starting point. Dak Prescott, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, and Kenny Golladay are just a few of the big names set to hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year opens on March 17th. One or more stands a good chance of signing a contract with their current team or being franchise tagged before then, but there is a chance one or more is taking calls when the tampering period opens on March 15th.

Below, we will take a look at recently released defensive end J.J. Watt.

2020 in review

Watt and the Houston Texans have parted ways, and Watt is now a free agent after ten years in Houston. He’s been dealing with multiple injuries over the last few seasons, but was able to get a full 16-games in last season.

He didn’t put up the sack numbers we’re used to from Watt with just five total, but did rank 15th overall in Pass Rush Win Rate. Overall, he had 101 sacks, 61 passes defended, and 25 forced fumbles, while winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Possible destinations

The list is long for teams that would like Watt at a discount, but since he’ll be looking for a winning team at this point in his career, the list does get a little shorter. DraftKings Sportsbook has odds in Colorado and Illinois for Watt’s next destination. Their list goes, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, and then down the line.

Do the Texans want to keep him?

Watt and the Texans have mutually parted ways. Toward the end of the season, you could tell that Watt was not pleased with the team. He knows he doesn’t have much time left in the league and would like to play for a team ready to win it all. Back in November, Watt said:

I don’t think it’s any secret that I don’t have 10 years left in this league. I personally believe that I do have a few more great ones left in me. But you also can’t ... I’m not looking to rebuild. I’m looking to go after a championship, and that’s what I want to do.

Fantasy implications

Wherever Watt ends up, it will likely be for a team with a shot at winning now. His presence would likely be a big boost to a team that’s already close to having a championship caliber team. The solider a team, the better they and their fantasy players play overall.

Rumored interest

Watt’s brother T.J., already has tweeted out that he wants his brother to come to Pittsburgh, where the three Watt brothers could play on the same team. On the surface this makes plenty of sense, but the Steelers are way over the cap and would have to get fancy with their numbers while Watt would likely need to take under market value to join his brothers.

FEB 12 UPDATE: Friday evening following Watt’s release, Ed Werder reported the Steelers, Browns, Bills, and Titans are among “[a]pproximately a dozen teams” that have shown interest in the free agent defensive end. He can sign with any team as soon as he wants.