Dianna Russini of ESPN is reporting that teams are making offers to free agent defensive lineman J.J. Watt and the best he has received is $15 to $16 million per season. Everything about this report depends entirely on who it's coming from in order to derive much meaning.
If this is coming from Watt's camp, it's sending a mixed message. There are already teams that are concerned about his contract demands and while they may not be out of the mix yet, they are prepared to be looking at other options. It could really limit his market to one team with a good chance of making the playoffs; the Indianapolis Colts.
They have a ton of cap room currently, though they have other major holes to address including left tackle and weaponry to put around newly acquired quarterback Carson Wentz.
Outside of them, it's likely mediocre or bad team that have little chance of winning the Super Bowl, which would undermine his stated goal of competing for a championship.
More likely, this is coming from teams who are trying to suppress the market and perhaps give themselves a better chance of signing Watt. However, even that is shaky given that it just takes a phone call to clear up exactly what Watt wants.
Ultimately, this report likely doesn't mean much. The teams that are in position to make offers to Watt either may not need to wait until the salary cap number is official as they are nowhere near it or they are baking it in to the offer.
This week has featured multiple reports that are suggesting movement with Watt when there isn't much reason for there to be movement. Unless Watt wants to make a decision now, teams are likely inclined to wait until the salary cap is official so they know exactly how much wiggle room they have to make their strongest and most accurate pitch.
If Watt wants to compete for a championship, it's really difficult to see where he's going to make $15 million per season, unless the Colts are willing to pay him that much.