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J.J. Watt’s free agency: Are the Cleveland Browns a fit?

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The Houston Texans introduced on Friday that they are going to be releasing star defensive lineman J.J. Watt.

CLEVELAND — Editor’s be aware: Cleveland Browns common supervisor Andrew Berry’s press convention within the video above is from Jan. 20, 2021. 

On Friday, J.J. Watt made headlines when he introduced that he had requested — and acquired — his launch from the Houston Texans.

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And whereas the three-time NFL Defensive Participant of the Yr is a lock to land in Canton 5 years after he chooses to retire, is it doable that Watt might wind up in Northeast Ohio even sooner than that?

After information of Watt’s launch first grew to become public on Friday morning, it did not take lengthy for Cleveland Browns followers to take to social media to specific their want to signal the five-time Professional Bowl choice. For the workforce itself, nevertheless, it can possible be a extra advanced dialog, with Watt’s personal needs being maybe the largest wild card.

With that in thoughts, let’s check out the circumstances for and in opposition to Cleveland signing Watt and the chance that it’s going to truly occur.

The case for signing Watt

Coming into the 2021 offseason, it will be powerful to discover a greater want for the Browns than defensive finish. Whereas Myles Garrett has already established himself as top-of-the-line within the league on the place, Olivier Vernon isn’t solely set to hit free company, however remains to be recovering from the torn Achilles damage he suffered in Cleveland’s regular-season finale.

Enter Watt, who is without doubt one of the greatest gamers within the historical past of soccer to ever play the place. A five-time first-team and three-time second-team All-Professional choice, the Wisconsin product already possesses the fourth-highest Professional Soccer Reference Corridor of Fame rating of any defensive finish.

Whereas the 31-year-old Watt is now on the bottom of his profession, he stays a productive participant. Final season, he scored as Professional Soccer Focus’ No. 7 total edge defender and No. 7 in run protection on the place.

Whereas it stays unclear what sort of deal Watt will likely be in search of as he hits free company for the primary time in his profession, it is price noting that the Browns possess the 10th most sensible cap house coming into the 2021 offseason, in line with In different phrases, if cash is without doubt one of the main motivating elements in Watt’s free company, Cleveland ought to be capable to make a aggressive provide.

The case in opposition to signing Watt

Whereas the mere addition of Watt would supply an plain improve to the Browns’ roster, the extra pertinent query is at what value? Whereas Cleveland’s present house state of affairs is comparatively clear, it might quickly change into crowded with Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb at the moment eligible for extensions.

If Watt is in search of a short-term deal on a workforce poised to take the following step as a contender within the AFC, the Browns may make for an intriguing match. But when the unanimous choice to the NFL’s All-Decade Staff for the 2010s is in search of a contract extra reflective of his resume, it is perhaps powerful for Cleveland’s analytically-driven entrance workplace to drag off, particularly contemplating Watt will likely be 32-years-old by the point the 2021 season begins.


Whereas there are compelling circumstances to be made for and in opposition to the Browns signing Watt, maybe an important side of his free company is whether or not he’d come to Cleveland within the first place. That appears particularly pertinent contemplating that he is already been linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the place he might be a part of his brothers, T.J. Watt and Derek Watt.

Whereas the Steelers at the moment have their very own wage cap points to take care of in the event that they wish to make a run at including a 3rd Watt, the presence of the 2 different Watt brothers in Pittsburgh might make J.J. signing in Cleveland a tricky promote. It might be one factor for J.J. to decide on to signal with a workforce aside from the Steelers. It might be one other for him to select one in all Pittsburgh’s chief rivals.

That is to not say that Watt may not embrace the chance to play his brothers twice a 12 months, particularly contemplating that the Browns look like initially of their competition window. However as at the moment constructed, it seems there are a number of important hurdles standing in the way in which of Cleveland touchdown one in all this offseason’s most excessive profile free brokers.


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