Three-time defensive player of year JJ Watt signs with Arizona Cardinals

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<span>Photograph: Matt Patterson/AP</span>
Photograph: Matt Patterson/AP

Three-time defensive player of the year JJ Watt has announced he is joining the Arizona Cardinals after leaving the Houston Texans.

Watt shared a photo of himself on Twitter working out in a Cardinals shirt with the caption “Source: me”. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Watt’s deal is for two years with $23m guaranteed.

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The 31-year-old was released last month at his own request by the Texans, for whom he had played his entire 10-year NFL career. His departure was seen as another sign of dysfunction from a franchise that has alienated or traded away its best players. The Texans’ best player, quarterback Deshaun Watson, is seeking a trade and has indicated he is willing to sit out the 2021 season rather than continue with the team.

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In his prime, Watt was the most disruptive defender in the NFL, but injuries and age have slowed him and last season was only the second since 2015 in which he played all 16 games. However, he is still an effective player when fit, and recorded five sacks and an interception in 2020.

Watt was an immensely popular figure in Houston and raised more than $35m to help the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.