Houston Texans GM Gets Honest On Potential JJ Watt Signing

JJ Watt, NFL, Houston Texans
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the Houston Texans greatly surpassed expectations. Coming off a 3-13-1 finish in 2022, they zoomed to 10 wins, an AFC South division title and a 45-14 playoff win over the Cleveland Browns.

All of a sudden, expectations are high for the Texans, especially after they traded for four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

But while they look stacked on offense, their defense has many needs, and those needs will need to be addressed if they are to challenge teams such as the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

There are whispers that the retired JJ Watt, one of the greatest players in the Texans’ short history, could return and reunite with head coach DeMeco Ryans, who he briefly played with.

General manager Nick Caserio said that once the season starts, perhaps Watt will feel his competitive juices flowing, and that Ryans “has an open door policy” for Watt.

In his 12 seasons in the NFL, Watt was one of the game’s most feared pass rushers. He won three Defensive Player of the Year awards and led the league in sacks twice, and upon arriving in Houston as a rookie in 2011, he helped put the fledgling expansion franchise on the map.

Houston made the playoffs for the first time in 2011, and it would reach the postseason five more times in the next eight seasons.

Watt moved on to the Arizona Cardinals in 2021 and helped them reach the playoffs for the first time since 2015 in his first season there. In his final season, which came in 2022, he recorded 12.5 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, 18 tackles for loss and seven passes defended.

He is now 35 years of age, so if he were to return, one shouldn’t expect him to play a ton of snaps. But he could be the man to elevate the Houston Texans’ defense.

The team has defensive end Will Anderson Jr., who was last season’s Defensive Player of the Year. They also added another pass rusher in Danielle Hunter, a four-time Pro Bowler, as well as Denico Autry, who had 11.5 sacks in 2023.

All three could provide the type of support that would allow Watt to play a somewhat lesser role as a concession to the wear and tear he possesses.

Perhaps JJ Watt wouldn’t be relied upon that much, but he could provide that extra depth and veteran leadership that would make a bigger difference than some may think.

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