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Full details of J.J. Watt’s contract with Cardinals

Cardinals, J.J. Watt

More details have emerged regarding defensive end J.J. Watt’s two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, which Watt and the team announced on Monday, to the surprise of the football world.

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year will earn a base salary of $28 million from his new ballclub. By reaching certain sack incentives, the 31-year old can bump that number up to $31 million over the next two seasons.

As was previously reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Watt’s deal includes $23 million in guaranteed money. That total could certainly have helped steer him towards Arizona, as opposed to his native Green Bay Packers, or the opportunity to play with his brothers, T.J. Watt and Derek Watt, with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Two other AFC North contenders, the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens were reported to have interest in the five-time Pro Bowler, too.

As Breer noted, Watt will earn $14.5 million in salary this upcoming season, then $13.5 million in 2022.

Watt’s decision to sign with the Cardinals makes sense from a football sense, too. Despite a disappointing 8-8 campaign in 2020, head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s group will be a popular pick to come out of the NFC considering QB Kyler Murray’s potential to break out in his third season.

Watt will re-unite with fellow Houston Texans legend DeAndre Hopkins in the desert, and he could form a dynamic duo on the defensive line with Chandler Jones.

Hopkins expressed his excitement about the Watt signing soon after the news dropped on Monday.

Last season, Watt ranked 15th in pass rush win rate, per ESPN. He posted five sacks, two forced fumbles, and 17 QB hits in 2020.