On Friday, the Houston Texans decided to release J.J. Watt from the roster after 10 years with the team. The future Hall of Fame defensive end is now an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team that he wants, which brought just about every fan base to the surface on Twitter yesterday hoping for signs that their favorite team would be in the running—including many in Chiefs Kingdom.
On the surface, it sounds good for the Kansas City Chiefs. Every Super Bowl contender has a built-in bonus that other franchises do not when it comes to courting players: the ability to put a recent Super Bowl ring on their fingers. For someone like Watt, who has never played in so much as a conference championship, the idea of playing for the very team who has hosted three straight games in the AFC at that level could make a lot of sense.
For the Chiefs, it makes sense, too—albeit at the right price. Watt played in all 16 games last year and played 91 percent of all snaps, which means his injury history wasn’t a concern at all during the long 2020 campaign. In addition, a one-year signing would bring about a motivated player at what is currently a position of need for the Chiefs. Taco Charlton, Alex Okafor, and Tanoh Kpassagnon are all scheduled to hit free agency, so the roster is pretty bare, as of now, at defensive end.
Despite what the Chiefs have to offer (and how much they might like to have Watt on the team), fans should not necessarily expect a marriage here. In fact, the Chiefs are considered by Las Vegas oddsmakers to be a long shot when it comes to signing Watt.
In that particular slice of betting lines, the Chiefs rank No. 9 on the list. The fit is there. The need is there. The championship potential is there. None of it matters, at least more than the others rated on that list.
The Chiefs fall behind some others due to the monetary aspect. For instance, the Indianapolis Colts are rated higher than the Chiefs there and that’s due to the fact that they’ve got a lot more money available to them next season than K.C. at present. Given other needs, even if the Chiefs free up considerable funds elsewhere, defensive end is not the place to spend given the dollars already going to Frank Clark and Chris Jones up front.
Beyond that, the chance to play with family is going to be an even bigger draw. The Steelers aren’t in great financial shape either, but knowing he’s at the tail end of his career, this is going to be J.J.’s only chance to likely play alongside his brothers, T.J. and Derek, both of whom play for Pittsburgh.
As for others on the list, they have money and/or competitive teams to offer, although it’s hard to explain why the Raiders would be in the mix here unless they were prepared to make Watt even richer than he is by overpaying for the likely output he would provide at this point,.
Yes, it’s entirely possible the Chiefs have a case to make for Watt and that he could end up signing here. The Chiefs have already proven they can woo the new veteran free agent (Le’Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy). However, in this instance, there’s likely not enough money or blood ties to make the connection.