J.J. Watt is now a free agent, and it did not take long for the Dallas Cowboys to be mentioned as a possible fit for the pass rusher. The early indication is the Cowboys are likely to pass on adding Watt. NFL Network’s Jane Slater described the Cowboys’ interest level in Watt as minimal.
“Let me address this following an inquiry from two of my sources on any #Cowboys interest of JJ Watt: ‘don’t think so’ and ‘I doubt it,'” Slater explained on Twitter.
The Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins indicated there could be a divide between Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the front office over signing Watt. Jones has never been shy about making a splashy move, but it remains to be seen whether Watt is the best use of the Cowboys’ resources given the number of holes on their roster.
“One Cowboys source on JJ Watt: ‘We haven’t discussed him,” Watkins tweeted. “Another: ‘Jerry gets excited over these things but don’t know anyone else in the building would.’ …One thing I’ve learned about covering the Cowboys since 2006: Everybody wants to play for the Cowboys.”
Jones Called Watt ‘Arguably the the Best Player in the NFL’ in 2014
Jones previously admitted that Watt is a player the Cowboys considered selecting in the 2011 NFL Draft before opting to snag tackle Tyron Smith. During a 2014 Dallas radio interview, the Cowboys owner had high-praise for Watt calling him “arguably the best player in the NFL.”
“We had him highly evaluated,” Jones said at the time, per Fox Sports. “Certainly we felt like we needed to address our offensive line, but he was someone that we, let’s just put it like this: It doesn’t surprise me that he’s having the career he’s having, or successful career. It surprises me, though, that he’s arguably the best player in the NFL. That’s surprising, but understandable because of the passion that he has.”
Watt Has Only Had More Than 5 Sacks in 1 out of the Last 5 Seasons
It is important to note that Jones made this statement when Watt had not missed a game in his NFL career. Watt has played in all 16 games in two of his last three seasons, but only managed to notch more than five sacks one time in the last five years. The star pass rusher has battled numerous injuries which have resulted in playing in eight or fewer games three times in the last five seasons.
Watt is two years removed from a 16-sack season in 2018 but as time goes on it is beginning to look more like an outlier than an expected outcome. The pass rusher can still help anchor a defensive line, but the question is whether his asking price will match his production.
Time will tell what the Cowboys believe the answer is to this very question. Based on the opening Vegas odds, the Cowboys appear to be a long shot to sign Watt. According to SportsLine, the Cowboys are listed at +1800 which puts them outside the top-10 most likely landing spots for the pass rusher. The Packers (+150), Steelers (+200) and Bucs +400 are the favorites to sign Watt.