J.J. Watt has his reasons for signing with the Arizona Cardinals, and it’s not just the nice bag he secured.
Former Houston Texans teammate DeAndre Hopkins is there. So, too, is defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, whom Watt played for in Houston. Plus, Watt and edge rusher Chandler Jones will form one of the most imposing duos in football.
However, Kyler Murray’s emerging talent might be the top reason Watt chose the Cardinals.
Ed Werder of ESPN says Watt’s “first criteria” in choosing a new team was the “quality of the quarterback.” Clearly, Watt seems to have ample faith in the former No. 1 overall pick.
I was told JJ Watt’s first criteria in choosing his team would be the the quality of the quarterback. So this seems an endorsement of @K1 https://t.co/VitQfjrquN
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) March 1, 2021
Murray dazzled in 2020 after winning Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019.
The former Oklahoma star completed 67.2 percent of his passes for close to 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also rushed for 819 yards on 6.2 yards per carry, racking up 11 rushing touchdowns. Murray figures to keep elevating his play as he and head coach Kliff Kingsbury continue to grow together, especially if Arizona can add talent in the receiving corps.
Now, some teams might be a little puzzled by this purported criteria. For example, the Green Bay Packers might have been a team to show interest in Watt, and Aaron Rodgers is fresh off an MVP season. But Watt likely would have had to take a pay cut to join a Packers team somewhat handicapped by salary cap issues. That is not the case with Arizona, as Watt’s deal with the Cardinals is worth $31 million and $23 million guaranteed.
Signing with the Cardinals offered Watt the chance to maximize his value while also joining a franchise with a player who looks like one of the NFL’s next top stars at the quarterback position.