On Monday, we found out where J.J. Watt will continue his NFL career. After speculation about a number of other Super Bowl contenders, he surprised the NFL world by signing with the Arizona Cardinals.
J.J. Watt was healthy in 2020, which was great news. His five sacks was his lowest total for a full season in his career. His pass rush performance may bounce back, playing on a much more talented defense with the Cardinals than he had in Houston in 2020.
It was quickly reported that Watt, who was released by the Houston Texans earlier this winter, signed a two-year deal worth up to $31 million. $23 million is reportedly guaranteed.
Now, we have more knowledge about the breakdown of Watt’s deal. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, his base is actually at $28 million, but can reach $31 million with sack-based incentives.
Details on the 2-year deal for new #AZCardinals DE JJ Watt:
— $12M signing bonus
— $14.5M base value in Year 1
— $28M base over 2 years, max $31M
— $3M in incentives based on sacks
— 10 sacks in 2021 gets $1M in 2021 and a $1M escalator for 2022
— 10 sacks in 2022 gets $1M more
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 3, 2021
Injuries have been the bigger issue. Watt played in all 16 games every year from 2011-2015, winning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. He has missed 32 total games since 2015, playing all 16 in 2018 and 2020. He had 16 sacks in 2018, and four in just eight games in 2019.
The Arizona Cardinals had very high expectations entering 2020, but finished at 8-8 in the brutally tough NFC West. After a 5-2 start to the year, the Cards were just 3-6 after the team’s Week 8 bye.
They’re hoping that Watt, one of the best defensive players in recent memory, returns to form and helps shore up a defense that has to face Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson twice a year.
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