Texans releasing J.J. Watt; should Patriots try to sign him as NFL free agent?

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Nick Goss
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Texans releasing Watt; should Patriots try to sign him as free agent? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Houston Texans continue to be a mess, and on Friday one of the best players in franchise history announced he is leaving.

Defensive end J.J. Watt revealed in a video posted to social media that he asked Texans ownership for his release and that both sides mutually agreed to part ways.

Watt is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best pass rushers of his era. He won the 2012 AP Defensive Player of the Year award and has earned five All-Pro selections, among other honors. The Hall of Fame also selected him to its All-Decade team for the 2010s.

Watt has not been as dominant over the past five seasons, during which he's missed 32 games due to injuries. He's tallied nine sacks in the last two seasons combined.

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He can still be an effective player, so should the Patriots try to sign him on the free agent market?

Absolutely -- is the short answer.

The Patriots have a big need in the front seven. They need another pass rusher and a player who can just be a disruptive force in that area. 

That said, Watt has never played in a Super Bowl and is already 10 years into his career at 31 years old. He's not young anymore, and probably will want to sign with a contender.

The Patriots are not a legitimate contender in the AFC right now, so it wouldn't make a ton of sense for Watt to come to New England if winning a championship ring is his priority.

Bill Belichick should definitely make an effort to sign Watt, though. The Patriots have a ton of salary cap space this offseason and need to use it to improve a roster that has several glaring weaknesses.