J.J Watt has announced that he will be playing for the Arizona Cardinals for the 2021 season. After weeks of cryptic tweets it seemed like he would be choosing to play with his brothers in Pittsburgh or in his hometown of Green Bay, and then he threw a complete curveball by signing with the Cardinals. Looking at the options there seem to be many other appealing spots, the Cardinals have no sentimental value for Watt and are not true contenders for the championship, so why did J.J choose the Cardinals.
Familiarity on the Cardinals?
While this might not even have played a role in Watt’s decision, he knows the defensive coordinator on the Cardinals(Vance Joseph) from his days at the Texans and he shared stardom with Deandre Hopkins who is now in Arizona. While this will help his adjustment to the new team there is no way that this is the reason he chose an old coordinator and teammate over his brothers. I mean there is no one J.J is more familiar with then his siblings so Joseph and Hopkins might help J.J now that he is on the team, but there is no way that they were huge factors in pulling him to the desert.
Wants to play with Chandler Jones and Hasan Reddick
Chandler Jones has been one of the most productive defensive ends in the league, and lining up next to him might be the only legitimate reason I can find for J.J wanting to go to Arizona. While Jones was out with injury last season and was only available for 5 games, he has had double digit sacks in his past 3 out of 4 seasons. Hasan Reddick is also another double digit sack master on this team, but while he has yet to get a deal done it is not certain that he will be back for next season. After playing in Houston where he was leading the team with 5 sacks, yes you heard that right no one on the Texans had more than 5 sacks, J.J might want to go to a team where he can play a complementary role.
Likes the trajectory of the Cardinals
After a disappointing 8-8 season, the Arizona Cardinals are on an upward trajectory. It was only two seasons ago that they had the number one pick and selected Kyler Murray. J.J is going to be the veteran in the locker room, something he wouldn’t be on older teams like the Packers or Steelers, and that might be something he wants to do as he nears the end of his career. Helping push this team into contention, and not jumping on as a super bowl favorite might keep J.J from looking like a player chasing rings. The Cardinals are almost certainly going to add pieces to the defense through the draft and continue to get younger, so J.J is gonna have his work cut out for him as a mentor.
I still am not entirely sure what the reason was for J.J to chose Arizona, maybe to torture Russell Wilson and his nonexistent O-line even more, but there must have been something that set Arizona apart from the rest. Maybe it was the ownership, maybe it was something entirely different but J.J must have something in special in the desert.
Top Image: Entro