The latest bit of news on Watt’s next stop appeared to come from his Peloton bio, which was first pointed out by Zach Frydenlund of Complex Sports. A user assumed to be Watt named Cleveland, Green Bay and Buffalo as his three free-agency finalists.
“SB56…GB..CLE..BUF,” an account named kJWatt listed. The screenshot quickly made the rounds, being retweeted and written about by multiple major outlets.
JJ Watt's Peloton account is interesting pic.twitter.com/HrJDbPRzkX
— Football Chopz (@Pchopz_) March 1, 2021
One problem — Watt says he does not own a Peloton.
i don’t own a bike. stop.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 1, 2021
The situation drew a classic response from Watt’s brothers, TJ and Derek.
I feel like I owe an apology to KJ Watt for my aggressive post race victory comments,” TJ Watt wrote on Twitter.
I feel like I owe an apology to KJ Watt for my aggressive post race victory comments… https://t.co/HZVJiXnyIn
— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) March 1, 2021
Derek Watt joked that the Peloton account in question belonged to him.
— Derek Watt (@DerekWatt34) March 1, 2021
UPDATE: JJ Watt announced through his own Twitter account that he’s signed with the Arizona Cardinals — a wild card team not reported to be in the mix. The deal is for two years and $31 million. It includes $23 million guaranteed, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Cardinals are giving J.J. Watt a two-year, $31 million deal that includes $23 million guaranteed, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 1, 2021
Watt asked for his release from Houston last month and the team quickly granted it.
“I came here 10 years ago as a kid from Wisconsin who had never really been to Texas before, and now I can’t imagine my life without Texas in it,” Watt said on social media. “The way you guys have treated me, besides draft night, every day after that you treated me like family.”
Houston, I wanted you to hear this directly from me… pic.twitter.com/YqT3P6Lb6l
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 12, 2021
Watt has dealt with injuries, playing just two full seasons since 2016. However, he’s still a prized free-agent target for teams looking for a difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball and a locker-room leader.
Despite his injury struggles recently, Watt has been fairly productive when he’s on the field. He was the most double-teamed edge-rusher last season on a lowly 4-12 Texans squad but still managed five sacks. He had four sacks in eight games the year prior and 16 sacks in 2018 — the last time he made the Pro Bowl.
Watt had double-digit sacks four seasons in a row from 2012-15, including a pair of 20.5-sack seasons.
Insider Clarifies JJ Watt Report That Omitted Browns
The Browns have been in the mix for Watt and were even the betting favorite to land the former three-time Defensive Player of the Year at one point. While the Packers have taken over the top spot, Watt is reportedly still considering Cleveland, despite a tidbit from insider John Clayton making that made it seem very unlikely the former Texans star would be coming to the Browns.
Updated odds for what team J. J. Watt will be on for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season (Bovada):
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) February 28, 2021
Clayton revealed that Green Bay, Buffalo and Tennesee were among the top contenders to land Watt during a radio interview, leaving out the Browns. He later clarified those comments.
“People are misinterpreting what I said on radio today. I said Tennessee, Green Bay and Buffalo were the leading teams for J.J. Watt but not the final three,” Clayton explained. “Watt hasn’t narrowed his list. The Cleveland Browns are still in. So are the Raiders. He has a dozen teams after him.”
People are misinterpreting what I said on radio today. I said Tennessee, Green Bay and Buffalo were the leading teams for J.J. Watt but not the final three. Watt hasn't narrowed his list. The Cleveland Browns are still in. So are the Raiders. He has a dozen teams after him.
— John Clayton (@JohnClaytonNFL) February 24, 2021
Myles Garrett Big Draw for JJ Watt
The Browns have all the characteristics Watt is looking for in his next team. Cleveland has the cap room to make an aggressive offer, have Super Bowl contending talent and Watt would be able to play opposite of All-Pro Myles Garrett, which would open up a new world of opportunities for the 31-year-old.
Garrett collected 12 sacks, two pass deflections and four forced fumbles in just 14 games last season. He demands a ton of attention from opponents, who would have to make a decision on who to double team with Watt on the other side.
Garrett is also hungry to make a deep run in the playoffs after the Browns came up just short in an AFC Divisional Round matchup with the Chiefs.
“I’m never happy with losing,” Garrett said after the season. “We are always trying to go to the very end and be there. We have a young core. We go back, keep building on what we have this year and take another crack at it.”
Garrett has had Olivier Vernon as his pass-rush partner the last two seasons, which was a good, but not great solution. Vernon stepped during the back-half of the schedule last season, notching nine sacks in eight games. However, Vernon — who is an unrestricted free agent — ruptured his Achilles in the Browns regular-season finale.