HOUSTON - Entering his 11th NFL season, J.J. Watt was a free agent. He's not anymore.
The former Houston Texans defensive end announced Monday he intends to sign with the Arizona Cardinals when free agency begins. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cardinals will agree to terms on a two-year deal worth $31 million, $23 million of which is guaranteed.
The Texans and Cardinals have history over the past two seasons. Arizona sent a 2020 second-round pick, along with a 2022 fourth-round selection and running back David Johnson to Houston for All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-rounder.
Earlier this offseason, Hopkins pitched the idea of the two former Texans joining forces in the desert for the 2021 season.
Hopkins finished his first season in Arizona with 115 catches, 1,407 receiving yards and six total touchdowns.
The Texans and Watt mutually agreed to part ways earlier this offseason. Houston will save $17.5 million in cap space from the fallout.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year will be joining a staff that features a plethora of talent on the defensive side. Headlined by safety Budda Baker and edge rusher Chandler Jones, Watt, 32, will fit well in Vance Joseph's 3-4 system at his natural role.
Watt finished his time in Houston playing in 128 games, tallying 503 total tackles, 282 quarterback hits, 101 sacks, 25 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns.
The Texans now are entering a rebuilding mode under new general manager Nick Caserio and first-year head coach David Culley. With the Deshaun Watson dysfunction at an all-time high, Houston could be losing him next.
Watt joins a crew that might just be ready to win now in the NFC West. As one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the sport, here's to seeing what else Watt has left in the tank.
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