J.J. Watt heading to the Arizona Cardinals
J.J. Watt will not be coming home.
The Pewaukee native and former Wisconsin Badgers star has agreed to terms on a deal with the Arizona Cardinals, revealed when he tweeted a picture of himself lifting weights with a Cardinals shirt on.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Cardinals are giving Watt a two-year, $31 million deal that includes $23 million guaranteed.
Watt, a defensive end, became an unrestricted free agent Feb. 19 after mutually parting ways with the Houston Texans following a 10-year run that included three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Watt, who turns 32 in March, reportedly drew interest from about a dozen NFL teams. The 11th overall pick in 2011 has spoken in the past about his childhood dream of playing in Lambeau Field, but his contract fell well outside of the Packers' price range.
Watt is a five-time first-team All Pro who has twice led the league in sacks. He notched his 100th sack in 2020. In 2014, Watt became the first player in NFL history to record two 20-plus sack seasons in a career.
He was named Defensive Player of the Year three times in his first five seasons (2012, ‘14 and ‘15). However, he has been beset by injuries and missed substantial playing time in 2016 (back injury), ‘17 (tibial plateau fracture) and ‘19 (torn pectoral). Watt played in all 16 games for the Texans in 2020 and recorded five sacks.
Watt was a unanimous selection on the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2010s.
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Watt entered the NFL after an All-American junior season with the Badgers.
Watt is well known for his off-the-field charitable work, most notably after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area in 2017. Watt raised $41.6 million for hurricane relief after that disaster.
Watt was named the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year for the 2017 season.
Christopher Kuhagen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed to this report.