What were other teams offering to J.J. Watt?

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The Cardinals reportedly have signed defensive lineman J.J. Watt to a two-year, $31 million deal with $23 million guaranteed. “Reportedly” is the key word because, frankly, there have been too many instances over the years where reporters rush to Twitter with whatever an agent tells them without scrutinizing or expressing skepticism about the information. (And, yes, I’ve been guilty of it, too.)

It’s entirely possible that theofficial numbers, which typically emerge long after the news cycle has cycled to other things, will support the initial reports regarding Watt’s deal. At a minimum, however, it’s safe to wonder whether the $23 million guaranteed is fully guaranteed, since the word “fully” wasn’t used in the initial reporting.

It’s also fair to question whether the base deal is $31 million or whether Watt needs to hit certain incentives to get there, or whether some of that money comes in the form of per-game roster bonuses, which will be paid only if he’s healthy enough to play.

Then there’s this question: What were other teams offering Watt? On the surface, it appears that Watt decided to chase the bag instead of chasing a ring, which is actually smart. Too many factors influence whether a team can and will win a Super Bowl. A paycheck, whatever the amount of it, never lies.

Indeed, Watt surely didn’t pick the Cardinals because he sees a clear path to SoFi Stadium next February. The Cardinals finished third in the division last year; they could be destined to finish third (or possibly fourth) in the toughest division in football next year. And then they’d have to deal with teams like the Buccaneers, Saints, and Packers to get to the Super Bowl.

One report originating from an Arizona radio station on Monday suggested that the Browns and Colts offered more money to Watt, and that the Titans’ offer was “very similar.” Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports has since tweeted that, based on his information, Watt’s other suitors were in the range of $23 million over two years, not $31 million. “Teams were trying to get Watt for roughly $12 mil per year,” Robinson says.

That makes sense. And it would also make sense for the Cardinals to try to characterize their deal as not the outlier, especially to the tune of $7 million or $8 million.

Here’s what makes the most sense: Let’s see what the contract actually says, and let’s not get so caught up in the ever-spinning carousel of news that we accept reports as fact without the benefit of, you know, fact.

21 responses to “What were other teams offering to J.J. Watt?

  1. I thought he wanted to go to a contender. Cardinals are a good team, but even with Watt, I don’t see them as a Super Bowl contender any time soon. Looks like he went for the money on a good team instead of a little less on a great team.

  2. In all fairness there was no offer the Browns could make to justify living in Cleveland over living in Phoenix

  3. The money HAS to be tied to health & availability to play…. if it’s not, then the Cardinals are really really incompetent internally…..
    Watts good for 8-10 games a year & he’s usually playing hurt in a portion of those….

  4. Maybe it is smarter to ‘go for the money’ as you say….BUT why did he state one of his priorities is to go to a contender? And second, after you have already made $80M+ in football and more in endorsements, couldn’t he have afforded to leave some money on the table in the hopes of winning a ring?
    I lost all respect for him in him not caring about being a winner.

  5. If he wanted to get paid it was always going to be a team with a QB on their rookie deal. It is an overpay for a player by franchise that does that a lot. They like brining in the older veteran to sell jerseys but won’t help you win. Goes all the way back to Emmitt Smith.

  6. Watt for roughly 12 million a year would be a good deal but Watt at roughly 16 million a year will take a lot going right for it to be a good deal. That said I’m not sure the Cardinals cap space so if this doesnt hamper them from other depth moves this year it might be worth the 4 million or so extra to ensure you get your player.

  7. “On the surface, it appears that Watt decided to chase the bag instead of chasing a ring, which is actually smart.”
    //////////
    Why is it “smart”? Because everybody should chase every dollar they can? The dude has made $100 mil in his career. It appears he chased the cash, as most players do. But it’s hardly a given that everybody should do so. I don’t make anywhere near that kind of money (who does?!), and I’m leaving cash on the table to retire early.

  8. Yes, it is wise to pick the money over the impression of a contender…IF one is still working to accumulate enough money to assure his and his family’s financial well-being for good. For any player who has been in the league long enough and was excellent enough to receive top pay, though, that becomes less important – especially if the pay offered by other teams would still be strong. Watt has made (pre-tax) over $100M from his player contracts alone, surely has put down some nice endorsement money, and seemingly was facing the difference of a few million dollars while still making eight figures annually. If he indeed took the extra money over the better situation (we don’t actually know that), no, I don’t think that was wise at all.

  9. Honestly I don’t think the Cardinals are that far off from being a contender. Certainly the difference between the Browns and them is negligible. I’m sure the money was a big factor, but also the location and weather.

  10. AZ fan. Not happy about this move. Injury-prone, older pass-rusher? Would rather they hold on to Reddick than role the dice on JW99. Great guy, but past his prime. Chandler Jones is a beast, but nobody knows if he’s 100% healthy. You can’t tie up that much money with two guys (Watt and Nuk) when you finish 8-8, losing your way out of the season.

  11. kissbillsrings says:
    March 2, 2021 at 10:28 am
    The money HAS to be tied to health & availability to play…. if it’s not, then the Cardinals are really really incompetent internally…..
    Watts good for 8-10 games a year & he’s usually playing hurt in a portion of those…
    ==================================
    You should Google for facts before you look foolish by posting. Watt played in the NFL for 10 years. In 7 of those seasons he played 16 games

  12. “let’s not get so caught up in the ever-spinning carousel of news that we accept reports as fact without the benefit of, you know, fact.” – Well said Mr. Florio!

  13. This will end in disaster. What will miss the playoffs, play a total of 9 games in two seasons, and retire as a shell of himself

  14. Potential timeline…

    Watt – “I want to play for a contender…”
    Contenders – “Ceiling is $12MM per year…”
    Watt’s agent – “We have offers in the $15-$16MM range…”
    Arizona – “Give him $15-$16MM…”
    Spin machine (Arizona and Watt) – “Arizona is a ‘contender’ and other teams were offering more…”

    No complaints here….guy has the chance to pick where he wants to live….Arizona can spend their own $$….but let’s at least call this what it is.

  15. Can he stay healthy? Can he make a difference like Reggie did in Green Bay? Can he collect a above average on what he’s really worth?

    Well I know the answer to at least one of those questions

  16. I am super glad that the Colts didn’t over bid for JJ…..would have made sense for JJ 5-8 years ago, but no longer….Good luck in AZ

  17. Very happy the Packers steered clear. Way too much for his age and injury history. Not near what he was even 3 years ago. Great guy just not worth that but kudos to him. Don’t begrudge players for getting every penny they can.

  18. It ended up being 2 years 28 million with 3 million extra to earn with escalators. Still not bad at all.

  19. SAS721 says:
    March 2, 2021 at 11:10 am
    Honestly I don’t think the Cardinals are that far off from being a contender. Certainly the difference between the Browns and them is negligible. I’m sure the money was a big factor, but also the location and weather.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    The difference is negligible? Somehow you think 8-8 is similar to going 11-5 and making it to the second round of the playoffs? Cards are not far off from being a contender? The Cards went 8-8, yet 10 of the games they played were against teams that finished the season under .500 …

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