Home News The Rams Should Stay Out of the JJ Watt Bidding War

The Rams Should Stay Out of the JJ Watt Bidding War

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The Houston Texans have released All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt.
According to Watt, he and the organization mutually agreed to his release at his request.

The news sprung many teams to start inquiring about the services of the five-time pro-bowler. According to Ed Werder, the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Buffalo Bills are among the dozen teams interested in him. 

Werder didn’t mention the Rams; however, fellow ESPN writer Jeremy Fowler reported that the Rams would be a great fit for JJ Watt. But the Rams should stay out of the bidding war for Watt. With a dozen teams interested in him, the Rams should focus on retaining the talent they already have on defense.

The Rams don’t have much cap room in 2021. The NFL is lowering the cap due to the minimal revenue because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Currently, the Rams are $26 million over the cap. However, once the Rams finalize the Jared Goff Matthew Stafford deal in mid-March, they can restructure Stafford’s contract, so he takes less of a cap hit. 

Photo: Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

The Rams will still take a $22 million dead money hit with Goff next season. However, according to Over the Cap, the Rams can restructure Stafford’s deal from a $20 million cap hit to only $4.86 million. A cap savings of $15.14 million. The Rams should take that money and resign defensive talent hitting the open market this offseason. 

With being the number one defense in the league this year, it’s hard to say where to focus their spending. John Johnson, Leonard Floyd, and Samson Ebukam are all up for free agency and could be out of the Rams price range. These players, along with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, were critical in the defense’s success. This is why it should be a priority to resign.  However, there are plenty of other talented players on defense up for free agency this offseason. Cornerbacks Troy Hill and Darious Williams are up for free agency, and there is a lack of depth there. Then defensive end Morgan Fox proved himself throughout the season. 

The big concern with JJ Watt is his durability.

In the last five season’s he’s only managed to play two full seasons. In every season, except 2020, where he managed to play a full season, he was named First-Team All-Pro. He has a huge upside but could injuries plague him with Los Angeles. Last season was a promise for his return despite a dismal Texans team. But even in 2018, where he played the full season, he missed half of the previous season. 

Watt might seem like a defensive pairing of a lifetime. The Rams already have an All-Pro defensive end in Aaron Donald.

It’s a big risk for high reward. The question is: is it worth the cap hit? 

Watt is finishing off his $100 million six-year deal with Houston. The Texans released him with $10 million left on his contract, and they’re responsible for the remainder of the contract. No team that signs him is paying the additional $10 million. However, it’s unlikely he will take a pay cut. Donald is currently under a seven-year $135 million contract. Watt will most likely be looking for a contract of that size.

If he can stay healthy, he’s worth the contract. But that’s a major if

Having two of the arguably best defensive linemen in the game would be a huge advantage on an already stellar defense. But, if it comes at the cost of losing pieces that made it the number one defense in the league, is the fantasy worth it. There also comes the notion of what happened to the Philadelphia Eagles when they drafted Jalen Hurts last year. The inevitable question will be: who is leading the defense, Donald or Watt? 

The Rams are in win-now mode. If they’re going to go after him, they should offer a two-year contract, and if they get the team over the hump and like his performance, maybe resign him.
Anything longer is a waste of time and money. Many teams are interested in Watt, and it’s best to stay out of the bidding war.

Featured Image: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
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