- The Houston Texans cut JJ Watt on Friday in their latest franchise-altering move of the offseason.
- Watt released a video thanking fans and saying that the decision to part ways was mutual.
- The Texans are in the middle of a franchise-altering offseason, and not the good kind.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Houston Texans have cut star defensive end JJ Watt after the longtime franchise cornerstone asked for his release.
In a video shared on social media, Watt said the decision to part ways was mutual and thanked Texans fans for cheering him on throughout his career.
“I have sat down with the McNair family, and I have asked them for my release, and we have mutually agreed to part ways at this time,” Watt said.
Houston, I wanted you to hear this directly from me… pic.twitter.com/YqT3P6Lb6l
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 12, 2021
Watt has been with the Texans his entire career. Houston selected him with the 11th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. He won Defensive Player of the Year three times over that span, leading the NFL in sacks twice.
Watt has been less productive in recent years, with several seasons cut short by injury. However, Watt would still be a valuable, productive addition to any contender looking to improve its defensive front.
Watt’s brother TJ Watt was already busy recruiting him to join him in Pittsburgh just minutes after the news of his release broke.
— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) February 12, 2021
The decision to grant Watt his release is the latest move from the spiraling Texans, who have had nothing but bad news for about a year now. Just over 12 months ago, Houston held a 24-0 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs, apparently on the cusp of their first AFC title game in franchise history.
Since then, things have been terrible. The Texans traded away electric wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for pennies, then played to a 4-12 season despite another prolific year from quarterback Deshaun Watson. It was a season so disappointing that Watt himself apologised to Watson for their failed effort to get him to the postseason.
Watson has since made clear that he wants out of Houston, and the Texans seem to be doing little in the way of changing his mind. While the team cleared out former head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien midway through the season, the front office that has since taken power has done little to convince anyone paying attention that better days are soon ahead. Still, the team has insisted that they have no plans of trading Watson any time soon.
Watt’s departure isn’t all that surprising â€” after 10 years, he’s likely eager to try his luck at winning a title elsewhere, and the Texans likely didn’t mind holding on to the $US17.5 million he was set to earn this year. But Watt was the one stable figure of a franchise that looks to be falling apart.
Now, Houston will have to find a way to convince Watson it’s worth playing for them. If we consider the Texans’ track record over the past 12 months, it will be a tough case to make.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.