J.J. Watt made his free-agent decision on Monday afternoon.
The veteran pass rusher agreed to a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals. It was a somewhat surprising move, but it did reunite him with former Houston Texans teammate DeAndre Hopkins.
What wasn't surprising about Watt's move? He didn't end up with the New England Patriots. The Patriots did give Watt's camp a call, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, but the sides "were never close to making anything happen."
That makes sense. While the Patriots have the third-most salary cap space this year, per OverTheCap.com, it's hard to imagine that Bill Belichick would've wanted to sign Watt to a deal that pays him $15.5 million annually.
By comparison, Lawrence Guy, New England's highest-paid defensive lineman last year, made less than $4 million annually on his deal. And the team's defensive line as a whole took up just over $16 million in cap room, excluding the players that landed on Injured Reserve.
Checking in on Watt was smart. And landing him surely would've been a nice jolt to a Patriots defensive line that could use some help. That said, it always seemed more likely that the team would target lower-cost options at the position. Or, that they would continue to beef up their line during the draft.
Meanwhile, Watt will take his talents to the desert in hopes of forming a feared pass-rushing tandem with former Patriots star Chandler Jones.