HOUSTON - In the NFL, teams with quality pass-rushers tend to do well. The Arizona Cardinals could have one of the best combinations by the end of the 2021 season.
The Cardinals and former Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt officially announced they agreed to terms on Tuesday. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year signed a two-year deal worth $31 million, $23 million of which is guaranteed.
Watt has been one of the top pass-rushers since being drafted in 2011, tallying 101 career sacks. Arizona's Chandler Jones, who began his career with the New England Patriots, has led the NFL with 97 sacks since 2012.
In second-place? Watt with 95.5.
"There's a lot of exciting things happening down here in Arizona," Watt said Tuesday at his introductory press conference.
Watt joins a defense that features a plethora of talent. Jones leads the way but star safety Budda Baker will control the middle ground in coverage. Second-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons is expected for a big season as well.
The real storyline line though will be Jones, who plays the outside linebacker role in Vance Joseph's 3-4 system. Last season, Watt was one of the most double-teamed defenders in the NFL, limiting his sack total to 5.5 in 16 games.
Cardinals defensive tackle Jordan Phillips tweeted how teams now will have to decide which defender they double-team now.
Watt said Joseph runs a similar defensive scheme to the one played in under Wade Phillips in Houston -- "which is a scheme I'm very familiar with and very comfortable with and excited to play in." Joseph worked as the Texans' defensive backs coach for three years of Watt's career.
Although not an initial Super Bowl contender, Watt couldn't help but laugh at Jones' sales pitch. The Cardinals defender privately messaged the former Texans star, saying that he'd be his personal chef if he joined the front seven.
Watt and Jones will be cooking on the grill and in the kitchen. If fully healthy, the new duo could be cooking on the gridiron as well.
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