After being granted his release Friday, edge rusher J.J. Watt has indicated he is eyeing the Cleveland Browns because they have “a lot of what he wants,” Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reported Tuesday.
Watt, 31, spent 10 seasons with the Houston Texans before they released him last week. A three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Watt has struggled with injuries the last few years but still led the Texans with five sacks last season. Now that he’s a free agent for the first time, Cleveland appears to be one of his top destinations.
The Browns have cap room to spare and Super Bowl aspirations, two factors that Cabot reports are significant to Watt. However, they aren’t the only team interested. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills are reportedly interested as well. Pittsburgh, which beat out both the Browns and Ravens for the AFC North title last season, employs two of Watt’s brothers.
PointsBet sportsbook originally tabbed the Steelers as the heavy favorite to land Watt, but the odds have since shifted in favor of Cleveland at +200. The Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are listed as heavy contenders as well.
Cleveland will return in 2021 with largely the same core that led the franchise to its first playoff berth in 18 years. While none of the three AFC North teams that qualified for the playoffs made it past the divisional round, securing Watt would be a significant move toward doing so next season.