Former Wisconsin Badger standout J.J. Watt asked the Houston Texans for his release and it was granted today, ending a 10-year run in Houston.
Watt broke the news in a 2-minute video on Twitter Friday morning.
“I came here 10 years ago as a kid from Wisconsin who never really been to Texas before and now I can’t imagine my life without Texas in it,” Watt said.
Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2017 for his humanitarian work after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area. He set out to raise $200,000 to help out and by the time he was done, the total collected was $41.6 million.
Watt was the 11th overall pick out of Wisconsin in 2011 and his contract was set to expire after the 2021 season. Now, he gets a fresh start to try and win the championship that eluded him in Houston.
His release means Watt can negotiate with any team, but will most likely seek out an opportunity with a contender.
The Pewaukee, Wisconsin native could be a great fit for the Green Bay Packers, who have fallen just short of a trip to the Super Bowl in each of the last two years. But Green Bay already faces some difficult decisions on a number of their own free agents and have to create space to get under the league salary cap, which is going to decrease next season.
But the Packers will find ways to get that done, and with several teams facing similar cap difficulties, there’ll be a number of players available to sign one-year bargain deals with a chance to win it all and test the free agent waters again next year.
With Aaron Rodgers under contract for three more seasons, the Packers are one of the more attractive spots for players to try to come and win now and perhaps Watt will give Green Bay the home-state discount. It would be hard to imagine the Packers not being interested if the price is right.
The Packers have rarely operated in a “all-in” mode when it comes to building their football team. But with Watt coming free, maybe it’s time they start as the window for Aaron Rodgers to win another Super Bowl gets shorter every year.
Such a move would certainly be popular with the Packers fan base and the Packers defensive line could certainly use some help. Watt turns 32 in March and it would appear he still has something left in the tank to help push a contending NFL team over the top.