It looks like the dream of JJ Watt uniting with his brothers TJ and Derek in Pittsburgh is dead.
Despite heavy recruitment efforts from his Steelers brothers, the three teams Watt has been deciding between are the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers, ESPN insider John Clayton said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh. He also mentioned the Las Vegas Raiders as a dark horse.
Pittsburgh was widely speculated to be a possible landing spot for the elder Watt, but they are also preparing for a major cap crunch in 2021. As it currently stands, the Steelers are projected to be about $6 million over the cap, per Spotrac. They could restructure Ben Roethlisberger’s contract to reduce his $41 million cap hit, but Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva and Juju Smith-Schuster, among others, are all free agents.
The Packers are also a bit over the cap, but could save money by cutting veterans such as Dean Lowry and Preston Smith, or could extend Davante Adams, who is in the final year of his contract. With Rodgers perhaps near the end of his time in Green Bay, adding a star such as Watt would make a lot of sense.
The Titans are coming off a season where they struck out in a major way with defensive free agents. Their two major signings, Jadaveon Clowney and Vic Beasley, together were paid over $20 million guaranteed and combined for a total of zero sacks (Beasley was cut mid-season). Watt could help to fix a defense that ranked 29th in defensive DVOA in 2020.
The Bills are coming off an AFC Championship berth, and while their defense came on strong down the stretch, they lack a true pass-rushing force. Watt, 31, isn’t the player he was earlier in the decade in Houston, but he still would be a huge upgrade to their edge rusher group.