Best fits for J.J. Watt: Five teams that could sign the future Hall of Famer

  • ESPN staff writer
  • Previously a college football reporter for
  • University of Florida graduate

J.J. Watt, one of the NFL’s best defensive players of the last decade, is available to sign right now. And his market is about to heat up.

With the Houston Texans releasing Watt on Friday, at Watt’s request, he gets a jump start on free agency as a premier pass-rusher open for business for 31 teams.

Watt’s impact on the game is massive. He’s one of three players to win defensive player of the year three times, joining Lawrence Taylor and Aaron Donald. His 101 sacks since entering the league in 2011 is second to Von Miller (106) during that span. And despite having only five sacks in 2020, a career low over 16 games, he ranked seventh among defensive linemen with 13 disrupted dropbacks (sacks, interceptions and tipped passes).

The flip side is that Watt turns 32 next month and has missed 32 games over the last five seasons. That shouldn’t dampen what will likely be a strong market as a situational pass-rusher and run-stopper on a contender.

After a quick ask around the league, here are five team fits for Watt:

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