J.J. Watt signing winners, losers: Cardinals, Texans, Russell Wilson, Chandler Jones, more

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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J.J. Watt shocked the sports world on Monday when he announced he would be signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

After the dust from the shock had settled, a couple NFL writers wrote about the winners and losers of Watt's reported two-year deal with the Cardinals.

Watt, who will reportedly receive $31 million ($23 million) guaranteed is one of the obvious winners, according to those writers and their reactions to the free-agent signing.

So are the Arizona Cardinals, who boosted their defense in a major way.

But there are some other big winners, and big losers, according to the writers.

Check out what they are saying about who benefits and who does not benefit from Watt's signing with Arizona.

Reaction: Arizona Cardinals just got whole lot better with J.J. Watt signing

Winners of J.J. Watt signing with Cardinals:

J.J. Watt/Cardinals

Sportnaut's Vincent Frank really likes the deal for Arizona, citing the player and the team as "obvious" winners in the move.

He wrote: "This one seems to be rather obvious. Despite missing Chandler Jones for all but five games a season ago, Arizona was still able to rack up 48 sacks. While rumors indicate Jones could be a cap casualty, it makes sense for the Cardinals to pair him with Watt. Since the start of the 2012 season, Jones leads all NFL pass rushers with a combined 97 sacks. J.J. Watt comes in second in that category with 95.5 quarterback take downs. After the Texans struggled providing Watt any help out on the edge last season, he now joins one of the most-elite pass rushers of this generation. That could allow the three time NFL Defensive Player of the Year to return to 2018 form when he recorded 25 quarterback hits, 16 sacks and a league-high seven forced fumbles."

Haason Reddick

For the Win's Steven Ruiz lists the Cardinals lineman as a winner in the deal.

He wrote: "Reddick’s breakout season came at the perfect time and now it’s looking more like he’ll get to cash in on it. Before Watt’s announcement, the 26-year-old, who had 12.5 sacks in 2020, was seen as a candidate for the franchise tag, but, obviously, the Cardinals will now be more willing to let him hit the open market, where Reddick should be able to land a big deal. If a soon-to-be 32-year-old Watt, who’s coming off a five-sack season, can get an eight-figure deal, Reddick won’t have a problem getting his money.  (Even if Reddick remains in Arizona, getting to play beside Watt and a healthy Chandler Jones should make it far easier to replicate the success he found in the final year of his rookie deal.)"

Trent Williams

Frank interestingly included the San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle among the winners in the signing of Watt.

He wrote: "The market dynamic changed big time for this impending free agent following the decision J.J. Watt announced on Monday. Already looking at north of $18 million annually on the open market, Williams gained a ton of negotiating power with the 49ers. Simply put, they now can’t afford to lose the future Hall of Famer once NFL free agency opens and expect to remain competitive in the NFC West. Williams, 32, dominated big time in his first season with San Francisco after being acquired from the Washington Football Team. He’s earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in each of his past eight seasons suiting up in the league. The former No. 4 pick is still in his prime. That will lead to the cash-strapped 49ers likely having to dole out $20-plus million annually to retain the key free agent."

 Von Miller

Ruiz included the Denver Broncos pass rusher on his list of winners.

He wrote: "The market for dominant pass rushers who have dealt with injuries of late has officially been set, and … it looks pretty good! That’s good news for Miller, who has only a team option year remaining on his contract. Now, Denver could see what Watt made and decide that Miller is worth the $22.5 million cap hit he’d carry if the option is picked up by March 17. Either way, the Broncos star is going to be making a lot of money in 2021. As the Watt signing show, teams are always going to be willing to pay for sacks."

Chandler Jones is among the big winners in the Arizona Cardinals' signing of J.J. Watt.

Chandler Jones

Ruiz wrote about how Watt's signing would really help the Cardinals' pass rusher.

He wrote: "Really, you could put Vance Joseph in place of Jones here. Now that the Cardinals defensive coordinator has another protection-dictating pass rusher at his disposal — and one who can win on the interior — he can get more creative with his blitzes and create one-on-one opportunities for his edge rushers. Jones will be one of the beneficiaries, obviously. And he might need that boost after suffering an injury that ended his season after an unproductive month of play. The fact that the Cardinals are spending so much on a veteran also suggests this team is all-in, so it looks like Jones’ spot on the roster is safe."

Commentary:Arizona Cardinals enter a new class adding J.J. Watt, one of the best of all time

Losers of J.J. Watt signing with Cardinals:

Russell Wilson

Ruiz, at For the Win, wrote of the Seahawks quarterback: "Poor Russ can’t catch a break. After complaining about getting hit and requesting more protection that he probably won’t receive, Russ now has to deal with another top-shelf pass rusher in a division already full of them. Watt joins Jones, Aaron Donald and Nick Bosa on the list of edge rushers that will get two opportunities to attack that Seattle offensive line next season. Wilson is on the one NFC West team that doesn’t have a scary pass rush. Maybe he should demand that trade after all. Even Chandler Jones feels bad for Russ."

Frank also saw Wilson as a big loser on the day.

He wrote: "After being sacked a resounding 146 times over the past three seasons, Wilson will now face elite pass rusher after elite pass rusher within the NFC West. That includes J.J. Watt in Arizona, Nick Bosa with the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald. Add in Chandler Jones, and Wilson has to be considering running for the hills. It has not been a great couple weeks for the future first ballot Hall of Famer."

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is among the big losers in J.J. Watt's signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

Houston Texans fans

Sportsnaut's Frank cited the fans of Houston's NFL franchise as a big loser in Watr's signing.

He wrote: "The decision by then-general manager Bill O’Brien to trade DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals last offseason threw the NFL world for a loop. Given what Houston received in return, it also didn’t sit well with fans in Houston. Now, one year later, and there’s a chance that Texans fans will be without Hopkins, Watt and Deshaun Watson. Let that sink in for a second. We’re talking about three likely future Hall of Famers, all potentially departing the Texans within a calendar year. Watt himself was not just the face of the organization, he was a key member of the community in Houston. The ultimate professional. Seeing him team up with Hopkins in another city is nothing less than a gut-punch for Texans fans."

Cleveland Browns

Ruiz wrote that Cleveland's NFL team really missed out.

He wrote: "Of the teams that were pursuing Watt, the Browns probably needed him most. They aren’t all that far off from fielding a team that, if you squint enough, looks a lot like the 49ers team that came so close to winning a Super Bowl a year ago. The biggest difference between these Browns and those Niners is the defensive line. Cleveland has a couple studs in play with Myles Garrett and Sheldon Richardson, but depth is an issue. Put Watt next to those two, and third-and-long would be hell on any offensive line going up against the Browns."

Houston Texans

Ruiz listed the Texans franchise as a big loser in the deal.

He wrote: "Judging by the contract, Watt was clearly valued around the league. So Houston losing the greatest player in the history of the franchise and getting nothing in return stings even more. On top of that, Watt is now playing for the franchise that fleeced the Texans in the Deandre Hopkins trade, meaning the Cardinals have now pilfered two of the greatest players in the history of Houston football over the last calendar year, and all they have to show for it is a second-round pick and a washed-up running back. It’s not even like the Cardinals have this reputation for having a shrewd front office. How do you get pantsed by Steve Keim!?!?!"

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Player reaction:'Who are you gonna double now?': Cardinals on J.J. Watt coming to Arizona

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