J.J. Watt Released By Texans: Future Hall-Of-Famer Hits Free Agency

Tim HeaneyDirector of Sports Content
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2021

J.J. Watt Released By Texans: The Houston Texans released defensive end and longtime franchise icon J.J. Watt at his request. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year hits free agency for the first time.

The No. 11 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft — and essentially the face of Houston’s defense since — will turn 32 on March 22. The Wisconsin alum registered 5.0 sacks in 2020 for a reeling Houston franchise.

J.J. Watt Released By Texans

That 2020 output was a far cry from his elite seasons in the previous decade; he topped 16 sacks in a season four times, including a whopping, league-best 20.5 sacks in 2012 and 2014.

Despite an easy path to a Hall of Fame induction, he’s played just two fully healthy seasons in his past five and, recently, has often been relegated to a rotational pass-rusher.

Houston has torn things down over the past two-plus years, including its trade of franchise wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals; having public verbal battles regarding the status of franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson; and now releasing Watt.

Watt’s departure was somewhat justified by Houston, from the side that a rebuilding franchise didn’t want to fork over that money for an aging defensive end who’s been vocal about frustrations with Houston’s organization.

What 2021 May Hold for J.J. Watt

Watt could easily find a role for a contender with a need along the defensive line:

  • Of course, he could join his brother T.J. Watt, arguably the NFL’s newest top pass rusher, along the Pittsburgh Steelers D-line — and hang with his other brother, fullback Derek Watt.
  • Watt could also travel back to Wisconsin to bolster a Green Bay Packers pass rush that already has Za’Darius Smith and Kenny Clark.
  • Could the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers slide him in as a replacement for free-agent QB attacker Shaquil Barrett?
  • The Baltimore Ravens would love to pair Watt with another elite QB pressure agent in Calais Campbell.
  • The Buffalo Bills could get over the hump on defense by improving their ceiling to bring down the opposing signal-caller.
  • Imagine the Los Angeles Rams pairing Watt with Aaron Donald?
  • The Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks are among other logical possibilities.

Any squad needing a jolt in its QB pressure should at least give him a call. Surrounding Watt with more talent not only could be a great way to revive his career (pending his health), but it will give opposing offenses more to think about.

Watt could face much 1-on-1 coverage from opposing offensive tackles more often than he’s experienced if he goes to a team that would bolster his supporting case.

Let us know on social media where you think Watt will end up.

Here’s how PointsBet lists futures on where Watt will end up:

Fantasy Football Outlook

Watt has lost a bit of juice in Individual Defensive Player (IDP) fantasy football leagues but still could be a solid depth option along the defensive line, especially in formats where QB sacks get more than the usual points awarded.

Whichever NFL team lands Watt has a solid chance to improve its weekly ceiling.

Watt/NFL/Texans Betting Outlook

This further diminishes any confidence in Houston’s 2021 win total. While these team props (including win totals), Watt stat props, etc., probably won’t be out until after the 2021 NFL Draft (stay tuned to our preferred sportsbooks for their arrivals), this is going to be a rough season once again for Houston.

Don’t even consider a Super Bowl bet. Watson isn’t a magician.

Done reading ‘J.J. Watt Released By Texans: Future Hall-Of-Famer Hits Free Agency?’

Stay tuned for more offseason NFL coverage as we comment on the biggest free-agent signings (which will include J.J. Watt’s new squad) over on our NFL homepage.

Visit one of our preferred sportsbook partners and use our welcome offers (including 2 Risk-Free Bets for $2000 from PointsBet with promo code “TGD2k") to bet on NFL futures as they become available.


Tim Heaney

Before joining The Game Day, Tim spent more than a decade in the fantasy sports and betting industry. Having written for ESPN, RotoWire, and USA TODAY, Tim earned an FSWA award nomination for Best MLB Print Article and multiple Top-5 finishes in fantasy baseball rankings contests. Tim has competed in Tout Wars (1 championship), LABR, Scott Fish Bowl, NFBC/NFFC, TGFBI, and RazzBowl (recent 4th-overall finish out of 200+). Drop him a line about TV, music, craft beer & pro wrestling.

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