NFL Spin Zone site expert Cody Williams selected five landing spots for J.J. Watt and had the Cleveland Browns as his No. 1 destination
It’s been expected for a while now that the Houston Texans and star defensive end J.J. Watt would go their separate ways this offseason. However, most of us expected that to come in the form of a trade, especially since there would be plenty of suitors out there for him.
Instead, we found out on Friday morning that Watt would be released from his contract after the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year requested to be let go. Watt released a statement ahead of the news, saying his goodbye to the fans of Houston.
Now, the question is where will Watt play in 2020 — and many think the Cleveland Browns could be one of the teams in the mix for his services. In fact, Cody Williams of NFL Spin Zone has gone as far as to call Cleveland the No. 1 spot for J.J. Watt.
“When you consider the teams that Watt could help elevate to contend, the Browns have to be in that mix. This is a team on the rise in a major way and adding a player of Watt’s caliber could be a game-changer to help solidify the defense.” — Williams, NFL Spin Zone
Other teams listed by Williams include the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, and Green Bay Packers. One thing all these teams have in common is that they’re all expected to be in contention for the postseason next year — even if New England and San Francisco did struggle in 2020.
One of the more interesting options out there is landing with Pittsburgh, where Watt’s younger brothers T.J. Watt and Derek Watt currently play. Getting all three Watts in the same building could be enticing for the family, and they have at least spoken about such a possibility one day.
In order for that to happen, J.J. would need to be open to playing at a discounted rate. Currently, Pittsburgh’s cap situation is pretty ugly with them being more than $30 million over the limit according to OverTheCap.com.
This is where Cleveland would have an edge. As it stands now, the Browns are just over $21.6 million under the cap and have the ability to free up even more room. On top of that, they’re a team that nearly took out the AFC Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs and as Williams pointed out, they’re clearly a team on the rise.
Adding Watt, even at 32-years of age (which he will be in May), could be what puts the defense over the top. He would be a major problem for opposing offenses who are already tasked with trying to slow down Myles Garrett.
Also, adding Watt would allow the Browns to focus more on the secondary in the draft rather than using any of their premium picks on a replacement for Olivier Vernon who is set to hit free agency after suffering a ruptured Achilles.