It’s time for the Houston Texans to trade JJ Watt

JJ Watt, Bears, Texans, Packers
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We all know how much JJ Watt means to the city of Houston. He will go down as one of the greatest players in Texas sports history. While it is bittersweet to say, they Texans should be thinking about trading Watt.

While there is a lot left in the tank, Watt needs to go to a contender. The Texans are entering a rebuilding phase where they have to build around Deshaun Watson. It would be best for both parties if the Texans sent Watt to a contender.

While Watt is 31 years old and has injury concerns, he is still playing at a very high level. The Texans need draft capital and Watt could give that to them. Houston has to start thinking of their future and stop reminiscing on the past.

When this team sent DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona, it was clear that the front office was selling. There are plenty of teams looking for an edge rusher. Watt could make a huge impact and it would honestly be the right thing to do for Houston to trade him.

Watt is closing in on the end of his career. He has some quality football left in the tank, but he shouldn’t have to go through another rebuilding process. This Texans front office has failed him many times.

They refused to get a quarterback and for several years they went with mediocre QB’s that limited the teams potential. Hopkins had to carry the offense virtually by himself while Watt led the defense. If Houston were able to put a competent offense together, there’s a good chance Watt would have at least one Super Bowl ring.

The 20-sack season era is over for Watt. He is now filling the veteran role for a defense that has plenty of holes. The Texans are likely going to finish with a bottom 10 record. However, because of the incompetence of the front office, the Texans will not have a pick until the third round.

Watt deserves more, and the Texans should trade him to a team where he actually has a shot to compete.

Years Of Wasted Potential Due To A Limited Offense

The Texans were a contender in the AFC for a couple years. In fact, after Peyton Manning left, they were the best team in the AFC South for a few years. However, most of that was because JJ Watt and the Texans defense.

The most Houston did to try and build their offense was sign a mediocre quarterback to a massive contract in hopes he could improve. Brock Osweiler will go down as one of the worst quarterback signings in NFL history. However, after that failure it took the Texans years before they could finally get a decent quarterback.

Between 2011 and 2017, the Texans went through 10 different quarterbacks. The front office did an awful job of building any kind of offense. Those were six wasted years, where Watt was arguably the best player in the NFL.

JJ Watt, Patriots, Texans
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

However, their offensive game plan was truly throw the ball to DeAndre Hopkins and let him make plays. They never had a true leader at quarterback until Deshaun Watson came in. Watson brought life to the offense, but even then it was limited.

Even though Watson is an incredibly talented quarterback, his talents were squandered. The Texans were not able to provide any protection for Watson early on in his career. The solution to that was trading away their entire future for a left tackle.

Laremy Tunsil is a very good player, but the rest of the offensive line still had issues. Even now, the Texans still have an average line at best. They seemed to have all the pieces to make a run at a championship, but then Bill O’Brien sent the games best receiver to Arizona for a second round pick and a running back well past his prime.

The best thing Houston can do right now is to trade Watt. The face of their franchise is now Deshaun Watson. While Watt will likely always call Houston home, they need to make some moves to stabilize their franchise. If they can’t, Watson will be yet another talent that Houston let down.

The Texans Cannot Do To Deshaun Watson What They Have Done To So Many Others.

The Texans have a very bad history of having generational talent and squandering it. The Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and Matt Schaub era was the era of high level offense. Defensively, they had tons of issues.

Finally, the Texans were able to build a defense. Then, as Schaub got older, his play began to decline. After Schaub was a revolving door of quarterback’s until Watson.

The short story is that Houston is never able to find balance. When they are, it’s only for a short period of time. Veteran players may be on the move, because Houston really has very little to work with.

Watson and Tunsil take up a lot of cap space. If Houston wants to start building a championship team, they will have to start now. Unfortunately, they will probably have to do it without the player who has been the face of the franchise for so long now.

The Texans should be able to get at least a second-round pick for Watt. They may even be able to secure a late first rounder if a team feels like he could be the missing piece to their championship run.

Watt is still a star player, and he brings veteran leadership into the locker room. The Texans won’t be winning anything this year. They likely won’t be next year either without any early draft picks. It is better to rebuild now than keep gunning at an unlikely Super Bowl run with aging veterans.

Although Houston will miss JJ Watt’s presence, he fits in with many other teams. Watt is flexible enough to truly be put anywhere on the defensive front. He can line up on the edge in a 4-3, he is strong enough to play interior in 4-3 scheme as well, but he is probably best suited as a 3-4 end.

There Are Plenty Of Teams Who Could Use JJ Watt

While he is wasting the last few quality years in Houston, there are many teams that could use JJ Watt right now. The path to the Super Bowl is a bit unclear. Some teams have loads of talent and are truly one piece away from being true title contenders. But, there are some teams who already are title contenders and are looking for an extra boost to push them over the top.

Houston Texans, J.J. Watt
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals, Saints, Titans, and Bears are all teams who could make the leap into title contenders if they add Watt. The Cardinals have a quality offense and a sneaky good defense. Adding Watt would solidify them and pairing him with Chandler Jones next year could be scary.

The Bears already have a dominant defense. Adding Watt could take the Bears into the rare kind of defense that is able to carry you to a Super Bowl. Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Robert Quinn, and JJ Watt could be one of the toughest defensive lines ever. The Titans run a 3-4, they have a solid pass rush, but could use a player of Watts skill. The Saints adding Watt would mean they have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL with Cameron Jordan, Trey Henderickson, and Watt.

While those teams are looking to make the jump to contenders, there are contenders who are looking to get some extra talent as well. The Ravens, Seahawks, and Packers are all in play.

The Ravens traded for Yannick Ngakoue to help their pass rush and may have to clear some cap, but adding Watt would give quarterbacks nightmares. Seattle just made a move for Carlos Dunlap, but they may want another pass rusher to sure up the defense. Green Bay is likely the best fit, teaming with Kenny Clark and Preston and Za’Darius smith would make them one of the league’s best defenses.

While winning a Super Bowl in Wisconsin would be a story book ending, it isn’t the best possible ending. If the Steelers were able to make a trade for JJ Watt, it would be the most fitting chapter in Watt’s career.

The Steelers have both Watt brothers. If JJ Watt joined them on an already incredible defense, it would be a dream come true. Pittsburgh doesn’t necessarily need him, but he a pass rush of TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, Stephon Tuitt, Cameron Hayward, and JJ Watt may be the greatest pass rush of all time.

However, if we learned anything from Kansas City and Tampa Bay this year, it’s that no team can have too much star power. Ending his career alongside his brothers would be a fitting end to an incredible career.

A Look At The Legendary Career Of JJ Watt Thus Far

While he has yet to entertain thoughts of retirement, Watt has an incredible resume already. He will leave Houston as arguably the greatest player in Houston sports history.

Watt won Defensive Player of the Year three times in his career. He is a five-time All-Pro and five-time Pro-Bowler. In 2014, he finished second in MVP voting. He was also named as the top player voted by his peers in the NFL Top 100 list.

Watt’s commitment to his team is only overshadowed by his commitment to the city of Houston. With all of his accolades, the most impressive feat in JJ Watt’s career may be what he has done off the field.

Tragedy struck the city of Houston in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. Watt set out a goal to raise $200,000 in hurricane relief funding for the city. However, his fund raising did much more than that. JJ Watt was able to raise over $37 million in relief in less than a month.

While Watt is a pillar of the Texans’ organization, the right thing to do would be to trade him to a contender. Watt has always been a fierce competitor. There shouldn’t be a blemish on his Hall of Fame resume.

Unfortunately, the Texans’ front office failed him, and he has never won a Super Bowl ring. He will always be fondly remembered in the city of Houston and will be a legend in that city far beyond his playing career.

While the journey has been wonderful, the ending has been rocky, The Texans were close, but this offseason was the last straw that broke the camels back. Houston needs to come to the realization that they won’t be winning any titles this year and likely for the next few years.

They gambled with their future and lost. The least they can do is trade the player who has given everything to them to a contender. Houston will be able to get draft picks as compensation. They will clear their cap space so they can sign some free agents.

While it is bittersweet, both parties come out winning in the end.