JJ Watt is experiencing true free agency for the first time. It hasn’t been long, but the five-time All-Pro defender has already discovered how crazy things can be.
At this point, it’s not about which teams want Watt. It’s about which teams Watt wants. During an appearance on 93.7 The Fan Pittsburgh, NFL insider John Clayton revealed that three teams were in the lead to secure Watt’s services.
Surprisingly, the Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t one of the four. The Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins weren’t either. Instead, it’s Green Bay, Tennessee and Buffalo with Las Vegas as a dark horse, according to Clayton.
.@JohnClaytonNFL says JJ Watt won't be coming to Pittsburgh. Tennessee, Green Bay, and Buffalo are the 3 teams. Raiders as a dark horse.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 24, 2021
Clayton did take to Twitter soon after the news began circulating to clarify that those four weren’t finalists. They’re leading, but several teams are still in it.
People are misinterpreting what I said on radio today. I said Tennessee, Green Bay and Buffalo were the leading teams for J.J. Watt but not the final three. Watt hasn't narrowed his list. The Cleveland Browns are still in. So are the Raiders. He has a dozen teams after him.
— John Clayton (@JohnClaytonNFL) February 24, 2021
The connections to the leading teams — or at least two of them — make sense. Watt grew up a Packers fan, and they’re considered one of the top contenders in the NFL. The Titans are coached by Mike Vrabel, who was Watt’s defensive coordinator in Houston at one time.
The Bills and the Raiders are also heavily in the mix. Buffalo was close to a Super Bowl appearance this season, and the Raiders have been a competitive team. If they can get some more help defensively — someone like Watt, perhaps — then perhaps they can turn the corner.
Yes, Watt will be 32 in March. And yes, he’s struggled to stay healthy in recent years. He’s still an impact player when healthy though. Whatever team lands the three-time Defensive Player of the Year instantly becomes better — both on the field and off of it.
My two favorite fits are the Titans and Packers. Why? Imagine Watt added to this:
- TEN: Harold Landry, Jeffery Simmons
- GB: Za’Darius Smith, Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary
The Bills have been solid defensively, but Watt wouldn’t be given the same one-on-one opportunities there as he could in Tennessee or Green Bay. The same could be said for Las Vegas too.
We’ll see what happens.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.