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J.J. Watt’s free agency decision made little sense to almost everyone, but Watt said the Arizona Cardinals did their due diligence and checked all the boxes for him.
“I give them credit, they attacked from all angles,” Watt said of the Cardinals’ recruitment during his introductory Zoom news conference on Tuesday. “There was, I think, [general manager] Steve [Keim] and [team owner] Michael [Bidwill], and everybody did a great job of, I mean, there were players, there were coaches, there were non-football people whatsoever that reached out and were in my ear and trying to convince me to come down here and tell me all the great things about it — and not only on the field, but sending me pictures of Paradise Valley and everything off the field, as well.”
The star defensive lineman chose the Cardinals over other noted suitors, such as the rising Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers.
“Their recruiting pitch was strong and heavy,” Watt said of the Cardinals. “But at the end of the day, I told my wife, you know all signs just kind of kept pointing back down here to Arizona, and in my short time here on the ground, I can tell you that I’m absolutely pleased and couldn’t be happier with my decision.”
Watt will turn 32 years old later this month. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Watt landed a two-year deal worth $28 million with the Cardinals. There are also incentives in the contract that can bring it to $31 million.
Watt said he’s particularly excited to be teammates with Cardinals quarterback Kyle Murray, admitting he texted Murray after deciding on the Cardinals.
“It’s pretty wild now to be on the same team,” Watt said. “But, yeah, I’ve obviously seen his career. He’s had an unbelievable career. He’s an incredible athlete. And what he’s been able to accomplish, he’s been a winner at every stage of his life, and that’s not a coincidence.”
Watt spent 2011-2020 with the Houston Texans, earning NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors on three occasions — 2012, ’14 and ’15.