Which contenders or playoffs hopefuls should trade for Houston Texans star J.J. Watt?
Although he remains one of the best interior pass rushers in the NFL, J.J. Watt could be traded this offseason by the Houston Texans. Despite their refusal to acknowledge the severity of the situation, the Texans already have to move on from franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, so trading Watt in a separate move could help Houston add more assets as they restart.
There is no more guaranteed money left on the six-year deal Watt signed in 2014, and the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported the Texans must make a “decision” on the 31-year-old.
Here are five teams that should call up Nick Caserio and see what the Texans are looking for.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have their own difficult decisions to make this offseason after veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger averaged a measly 6.3 yards per pass attempt, holding back an offense with four legitimate star pass-catchers. Pittsburgh could hold onto Roethlisberger, if he doesn’t retire, for one more year, but they would have to invest in their defense even further.
Last season, Pittsburgh ranked third in the league in points allowed, yards allowed, and net yards per pass attempt surrendered. They received 34 sacks from the trio of T.J. Watt, Stephon Tuitt and Bud Dupree.
A reunion of the Watts would be a huge story, but so would a defensive line containing Cameron Heyward, J.J. Watt and Tuitt. They would have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL with both Watts on the same side, and they could keep Heyward and J.J. fresh by rotating heavily on the line. That could prolong the careers of two of the best 3-4 defensive ends of this era.
Pittsburgh can offer Houston a few assets, even if a sign-and-trade deal involving JuJu Smith-Schuster or Dupree would probably be smacked down by the commissioner’s office. The Steelers could offer draft picks below the first-round level, because they don’t have pressing depth issues, especially not on offense. Their defense is so good that they could add a defensive back or linebacker as part of the package to entice the Texans.
The Steelers aren’t desperate for defensive line help and would have to be careful, but by loading up on the line and acquiring a well-rounded presence who makes everyone else that much better, Pittsburgh could build a truly formidable front seven with Watt in the fold.