Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press
Free-agent pass-rusher J.J. Watt reportedly wants to play alongside a talented quarterback at his next stop.
On Wednesday, Ed Werder of ESPN relayed Watt’s biggest considerations as he weighs his decision with the priority of winning a Super Bowl: quarterback, supporting personnel, money.
Free agency is a new experience for Watt, who spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Houston Texans after they selected him with a first-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
Houston released him this offseason in a mutual move, and the aftermath has apparently been “wild.”
It should come as no surprise a number of teams and players are interested in Watt seeing how he is a generational defensive talent with five Pro Bowls, five All-Pro selections and three Defensive Player of the Year awards on his illustrious resume.
Former teammate DeAndre Hopkins, who now plays with the Arizona Cardinals, posted a picture of the two on Instagram and wrote, “Let’s finish what we started…”
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster commented on the post and said, “Come play with your brothers” in reference to T.J. and Derek Watt, who are both on the AFC North team.
The Steelers might not be the only AFC North team with potential interest, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Watt is “seriously considering” the Cleveland Browns. The idea of Watt and Myles Garrett teaming up to pressure quarterbacks on the same defensive line is surely a worrisome one for the rest of the AFC.
Elsewhere, ESPN’s Kimberley A. Martin reported the interest between Watt and the Buffalo Bills is “definitely mutual.”
It’s hard to argue against any of those potential destinations given the list of priorities Werder shared. The Steelers, Bills and Browns all made the playoffs last season, while the Cardinals have a bright future with Kyler Murray under center.
Ben Roethlisberger is a surefire Hall of Famer at quarterback with Pittsburgh, while Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen each took significant strides as franchise signal-callers for Cleveland and Buffalo, respectively.
Wherever he goes, it is clear Watt is eyeing his first Super Bowl trophy at this stage of his career.