The National Football League continues to provide the best drama in the sporting world, despite not having a meaningful game to play for another six months. The league, featuring its 32 teams across the league, each possess their own unique storylines to follow through the course offseason to hold over the constant hunger of live action football.
When it comes to the Houston Texans, nearly all of those headlines are derived from negativity. Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson is now locked in a stare-down with the front office after relations turned sour, causing Watson to request a trade.
Watson isn't the only superstar in Houston that wanted out (shoutout to James Harden), as defensive end J.J. Watt was recently released to pursue greener pastures. A player with the resume of Watt's (three-time Defensive Player of the Year, just to kick things off) rarely hits the open market, so naturally, people were going to try to gain any hint on where Watt may sign.
Ultimately, Watt inked a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals worth $31 million dollars ($23 million guaranteed) after being connected with various teams such as the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers, among various other teams.
And yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers were indeed pinged by many to land the talents of Watt, even serving as betting favorites at one point in time during the process. The prospects of playing for a playoff team that included two of his brothers, a Hall of Fame quarterback and an already talented defensive unit were undoubtedly attractive. However, Watt now finds himself in the desert, leaving any hope of a third Watt in Pittsburgh up to photoshops and Madden players alike.
Truthfully speaking, that's quite alright.
This is no slight to Watt, as he is building a case to be one of the league's greatest defensive players ever once he decides to hang his cleats up. His talents anywhere would improve any team, and the Steelers are included in that theoretical scenario.
However, the "J.J. Watt to Pittsburgh" dream appeared to be exactly that... A dream.
Perhaps later down the road, Watt may be up for teaming up with his kin and enjoying business on a family level. Yet Watt, despite turning 32 in a few weeks, feels like there's a lot of gas left in his tank.
"My wife and I are very excited to be here. Mr. Bidwill, Steve (Keim), everybody here has been unbelievable so far and I'm just excited to get started," said Watt shortly after signing Arizona.
"I'm very excited to get to work, get to know the people of Arizona and to go to work and try to help them win a championship. The one thing I can promise you is I'm gonna work my ass off every single day to make you proud. I'm very proud to be a part of the Bird Gang and the Red Sea, so let's get started."
As previously stated, Watt would provide a great help to any team willing to take him. However, on a defensive line that features ends such as Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, it's very unlikely any of the above players would accept a rotational role, let alone move inside to nose tackle like some have suggested.
The fit would have been difficult to pull off on the field, and perhaps even harder off the field as well. The Steelers still find themselves in the negative as far as projected salary cap space goes, and any available cap space eventually found should wisely be spent in either retaining current players or upgrading other positions.
Truth be told, Watt was never taking a friendly discount to play football, at least not in this point in his career. With an average of $15.5 million dollars on his new deal and reports of even more money being thrown at him, it's very apparent Pittsburgh's monopoly money wasn't enticing enough for Watt.
Although the Steelers didn't land his talents, the likes of Baltimore, Cleveland or any other potent AFC contender aren't able to say otherwise. When combining the talent already at defensive end, the need to reinforce other positions and the financial space Watt would have taken, it's likely for the best that Watt didn't end up in black and gold.