The NFC West is no joke. And the division just became that much more of a challenge for the 49ers with star defensive end J.J. Watt announcing Monday morning that he's signing with the Arizona Cardinals.
Taybor Pepper, the 49ers' long snapper, couldn't help but shake his head at the news.
Watt turns 32 years old later this month, missed half the season in 2019 and has recorded just nine sacks the past two seasons. But he didn't have much help on the Houston Texans, and that should change in Arizona. Lining up on the opposite end of Chandler Jones could create nightmares for the 49ers and the rest of the NFC West.
Even though Watt recorded just five sacks in 2020, he still had 17 QB hits, 14 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He had an 85.4 Pro Football Focus grade last year as the Texans struggled to win games.
The 49ers are just one year removed from falling late in the Super Bowl. But this offseason has seen the Los Angeles Rams and Cardinals both improve their rosters at premium positions. The division is about to be a dogfight and the 49ers might have to make some major moves if they want to be contenders again this year.