Texans Release JJ Watt

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The Houston Texans are releasing JJ Watt, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Texans selected Watt with the No. 11 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and found their franchise defensive end. Most observers believed the Texans would trade the 31-year-old member of the 100 Sacks Club, but that has changed, according to NFL insiders.

JJ Watt posted a video Friday morning saying that he asked the McNair family to release him. The sides “mutually” agree to part ways, according to Watt.

“I came here 10 years ago as a kid from Wisconsin who had never really been to Texas before. Now I can’t imagine my life without Texas in it.”

Watt thanked the fans for their huge support — except on draft night when they booed the pick.

“The connection is special,” Watt said of the people he’s met and the way he’s been treated in Houston.

“I will never ever take that for granted because I know how rare it is.”

“I’m excited and looking forward to a new opportunity. It is always tough to move on.”

Watt’s career in Houston ends with 101 sacks, 128 games played, 531 tackles and two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns. The 80-yard interception for a touchdown came against the Bills in 2014, and Watt had a 19-yard interception against Matthew Stafford on Thanksgiving Day 2020.

He has also been named NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times.

Watt will also be remembered for raising $41.6 million in Hurricane Harvey relief funds for the people of Houston who suffered greatly after the storm destroyed much of the city.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. Anyone else wish the NFL contract structure was like MLB? I’m not a big fan of the constant restructuring and releasing guys for cap reasons, negotiating settlements with injured players and players forcing themselves out. Set up a luxury tax and negotiate controllable years and an arbitration system in the next CBA.

    • Not at all! The hard cap makes for tough choices, yes. But it also keeps things level across the league.

      No one wants stacked teams, living in the luxury tax. It actually hurts baseball.

      The Patriots won many Super Bowls releasing guys on the backside of their career, just like JJ Watt. If other teams can’t help themselves by signing QB’s to $35-$40M….that’s on them, not the system.

    • I don’t like the current contract system in any sport. I think all players should be on year by year contracts and get paid based on their actual market value at the time. I think a higher team salary cap makes sense and a league minimum salary. I only agree with caps because it’s competitive sports and small market teams are at a disadvantage based on something they can’t easily control. I’ll keep dreaming.

  2. Good. Now he’ll have a change of pace. Perhaps, he can play as a role player instead of the face of a franchise. Takes a lot of pressure off. (He may reach that Super Bowl, too.)

  3. JJ Watt in Pittsburgh? No thanks. His whining about Aaron Donald winning DPOY over TJ was telling. Old, always injured, never won anything and a crybaby to boot. That said, I’m sure the Steelers will sign him because they are a garbage organization these days. And having all the Watt brothers on the same team will be a “nice story”.

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