NFL rumors: Eagles' Lane Johnson is recruiting new free agent J.J. Watt

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Adam Hermann
·3 min read
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Lane Johnson recruiting J.J. Watt after Texans release star originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Houston Texans released superstar defensive end J.J. Watt on Friday after the longtime franchise cornerstone requested his release. 

Yes, seriously! 

This is one of those moves where the whole league pauses and takes notice, and that includes players who would like their team to add a five-time All-Pro defender. 

Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson took notice of the transaction on Friday morning, and it sounds like he wouldn't mind playing with Watt in the future:

Classic Lane.

And when Watt's brother and Steelers star defensive lineman T.J. Watt suggested Watt go play in Pittsburgh, Johnson fired back:

Now, before we get too far, it's important to note that Watt is not coming to Philadelphia. He will be in high demand, and he will make way too much money for the cash-strapped Birds to make even a long-shot run at acquiring his services.

But that's okay, because we all like to dream. Johnson has gone up against Watt in the past, and he's also probably heard amazing stories of Watt's talent from former Texan Brandon Brooks, who credited Watt with helping his game improve:

“Going against him every day, I think it’s made me a tremendously better player,” Brooks said. “Not only do you get a great player, but you get a great player with a motor that is virtually unmatched. There’s no reps that I can take off because I know he’s going 110 percent 110 percent of the time.”

And this is, in fact, an important offseason and ensuing year for the Eagles' defensive ends and the future of that position. 

Brandon Graham reached a Pro Bowl this past season, but he isn't getting younger and will eventually succumb to time because he isn't Tom Brady. Derek Barnett is good, except when he's taking late hit penalties or jumping offsides, and is entering the last year of his rookie deal. At just 24 years old, he's a guy the team will probably want to extend sooner rather than later. Josh Sweat had a great 2020 season but, like Barnett, is in the last year of his rookie deal. He might command more money than initially expected, but he's productive and he's not even 24 years old yet, which is exactly the kind of player the Eagles need.

Outside of those three, the team is extremely low on talent (or even bodies) at DE. And only two of those three guys have a real long-term future.

So, would Watt be a welcome addition to next year's Eagles team? Actually, yes! And that's not just because he's a superstar who would be welcome anywhere. He would help shore up a position group that needs more talent in the coming seasons for the Eagles.

But... it's not happening, no matter how many eyeball emojis Lane Johnson sends his way. Sorry about it.

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