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Sunday, February 28, 2021

J.J. Watt Rumors: Texans Cut Star Despite Fielding Trade Calls in Recent Weeks

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Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) waves to fans as he walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. The Titans won 41-38. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The Houston Texans released star defensive end J.J. Watt despite reportedly receiving numerous calls from teams about possibly trading for the five-time All-Pro. 

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports provided the report: “Interesting note about Texans releasing J.J. Watt, they did it despite knowing that other NFL teams were willing to give up an asset for him. Maybe not a great asset, but something. A team source told me today that GM Nick Caserio did get calls on Watt over the last two weeks.”

The Texans are amid a tumultuous era, with Watt now gone and superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson requesting a trade that has not been granted. Houston president Jamey Rootes also resigned.

Murmurs of a potential Watt trade surfaced last year, with one NFL general manager telling Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports the following:

“He’ll be traded by March, bank on it. That’s a hard trade to make in the middle of the season and there are going to be questions about the medicals. Jack [acting GM Jack Easterby] can’t make that trade in November. And the owner probably wasn’t quite ready to make it, but it’s coming.”

Mike Fisher of TexansDaily.com also reported in January that teams were looking into dealing for Watt.

The defensive end’s best days are behind him, but he’s still a solid and productive pass-rusher who had five sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 52 tackles last year.

A trade could have netted the Texans at least one pick in return, which could only benefit a team that doesn’t own any selections until Round 3 of the 2021 draft.

Texans owner Cal McNair explained to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network why Houston ultimately decided to release Watt, who announced Friday that he formally requested a parting of ways:

“We evaluated our options and were confident this was the right one for J.J. and the Texans. … We started talking about this right after the season, and we wanted to make sure we did right by him. This is not a goodbye, it’s so long for now.”

Watt is now free to look for his second NFL home after 10 years with the Texans.

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