J.J. Watt is a 31-year-old veteran with two years and more than $30 million in non-guaranteed salary remaining on his current contract. He’s a fan favorite in Houston thanks both to his efforts on and off the field, but he’s also injury prone and moving into the back end of his career.
A complicated career spot coupled with COVID-19 uncertantiy means that the chatter that usually surrounds star players around this time into a contract has been almost entirely non-existent.
“I don’t think that’s necessary. I’m not going to sit here and demand anything,” he told the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson. “If I asked for an extension or money right now, I think that would be the wrong move”
While its a nice gesture on Watt’s part to not try and squeeze more money out of the team in a time of crisis; his recent history doesn’t exactly put him in the position to demand more money.
A Tough Stretch
After starting 16 games a rookie out of Wisconsin in 2011; Watt broke out as one of the NFL’s most powerful game breakers in the league in 2012. He collected 20.5 sacks and 39 total tackles for loss in his first All-Pro season and didn’t miss a single contest in his first five seasons.
But since then, staying on the field has been a challenge for Watt.
He’s lasted double digit games in a season just once since his fourth straight All-Pro campaign in 2015; and missed half the 2019 season with an injured pectoral muscle in an October win over the Oakland Raiders.
“This game can be beautiful and it can also be brutal. Absolutely gutted that I won’t be able to finish the season with my guys and give the fans what they deserve,” he tweeted after the game. “I truly love this game and can’t stand letting you guys down. Thank you for all of the thoughts & well-wishes.”
An Active Offseason
The Houston Texans have made some major headlines with their offseason moves this year; with one trade making the biggest splash.
Back in March they traded away one of the best wide receivers in the NFL; sending DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for some draft picks and former-MVP running back David Johnson. The move turned heads and raised eyebrows league wide; with head coach Bill O’Brien taking a good deal of flack for what on paper is not a great trade for Houston.
In an effort to replace the top-tier production; they brought in wide outs Brandin Cooks via trade and Randall Cobb in free agency.
They also worked to solidify their offensive line, making Laremy Tunsil the league’s highest paid left guard with a three-year, $66 million contract extension; while also working towards a similarly significant deal with quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The Houston Texans have gone to work in an effort to build the team they feel gives Watson the best chance for success. Following such an active and in some cases controversial offseason with team that made the playoffs last year; the pressure is on for the Texans to deliver right away.