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Report: J.J. Watt is ‘seriously considering’ Browns in free agency

The veteran defensive lineman reportedly wants to join a contender next season.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during warmups before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Free-agent defensive end J.J. Watt is “seriously” considering the Cleveland Browns as one of his options, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Cabot adds that the Browns have what Watt wants, which is money and a chance to win.

The Browns shocked the football world last week under first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski as they went 10-6 and made the playoffs. Cleveland defeated their AFC North rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Wild Card Weekend, and just came up short in the AFC Divisional round against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 31-year-old Watt reportedly wants to play for a Super Bowl contender and the Browns have the money to make it happen. Cabot notes that Cleveland has $21.7 million in cap space. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was scheduled to make $17.5 million next season before being released by the Houston Texans.

According to Cabot, Watt could be looking for that amount in his next contract and the Browns were prepared to pay that for Jadeveon Clowney last offseason. If the Browns are able to sign Watt, he would be a supreme upgrade on the defensive line, playing opposite of Myles Garrett.

However, the Browns will have some contenders for Watt’s services this offseason. The Steelers, Packers, Bills, Bears and Titans have all been linked to Watt. But all these teams are currently over the cap and would need to make other moves to create the necessary space to sign the veteran lineman.