HOUSTON – The Houston Texans agreed to part ways with star defensive end JJ Watt after the player asked for his release.
“I sat down with the McNair family and asked for my release and we have mutually agreed to separate at this time,” Watt said in a video posted on Twitter.
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Watt was chosen by the Texans in 2011 with the 11th pick and became the face of the franchise, winning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards between 2012 and 2015. Watt is one of three players to win that award. three times.
Watt is coming off his second 16-game season since 2015, as he has dealt with several season-ending injuries since then.
In 2020, Watt was ranked 15th out of 119 qualified passing runners in Passing Run Win Rate, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information. He finished the season with five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception that he returned for a touchdown.
Watt is by far the most productive pass rusher in Texans history, with 101 sacks in his career. There have only been two players in team history with more than 30 career sacks (Whitney Mercilus with 54 and Mario Williams with 53) since the franchise’s first season in 2002.
During the season, Watt made it clear that he was not interested in playing for a team undergoing “rebuilding.”
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“I don’t think it’s any secret that I don’t have 10 years left in this league,” Watt said in November. “Personally, I think I have some bigger ones left in me. But you can’t either … I’m not looking to rebuild. I’m looking for a championship, and that’s what I want to do.”
When asked at the end of the season if he felt the 2021 Texans would be in rebuilding mode, Watt said there are “so many unknown factors in that situation right now that you definitely can’t say that.”
Watt had one year left on the contract he signed in 2014. He was owed $ 17.5 million in 2021, but his salary was not guaranteed. You are now free to sign with another team.