J.J. Watt's time with Texans is over as franchise star and Houston hero is released, free to go to... Steelers?

J.J. Watt may have grown up in Wisconsin, is impact on Houston is lasting,
J.J. Watt may have grown up in Wisconsin, is impact on Houston is lasting,
Image: Getty Images

As Houston continues to revamp their team and try to resurrect their franchise from the lifeless pit of despair that former head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien left it in, the Texans and J.J. Watt have mutually agreed to part ways. Watt was released today, allowing him to search for a new team as he continues his career, as he announced on social media:

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Before we make this a Deshaun Watson argument, it’s not. Watt is an aging star that carried $17.5 million in salary this year with no dead cap, and would have been a free agent after 2021. By cutting him now, the Texans improve their salary situation dramatically, and allow Watt plenty of time to pursue free-agent opportunities.

It’s a good move for the Texans. They didn’t really have much of a choice, and J.J. Watt surely isn’t interested in being a part of a rebuild. After losing DeAndre Hopkins in a dumb trade a year ago, and now with the release of Watt, the only valuable piece the team has left standing from their 2019 playoff roster is Watson. It’s a lonely room for him, and we are still waiting to see if they grant his request for a trade, but it still looks like they are set in not doing so.

Watson took time to express his gratitude for the franchise legend.

Houston has a long road ahead to heal from the trauma caused by O’Brien, but this is the first step in doing so. Now, we just need to figure out where Watt will end up.

(*cough*Pittsburgh*cough*) (*cough*joins brother T.J.*cough*)

Watt’s time in Houston was of course memorable. On the field Watt was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015) a five-time All-Pro and unanimous selection for 2010 Team of the Decade. But it was off the field where Watt, a Wisconsin kid, cemented his legacy in Houston, Texas. When Hurricane Harvey devastated southeastern Texas, in 2017, Watt, looking to raise $200,000 to help relief and recovery managed to bring in $37M. Watt’s relief fund helped build over 1,100 homes. For his efforts, Watt was named co-Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year.