Why J.J. Watt joining 49ers in 2021 after Texans release so unlikely

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Alex Didion
·2 min read
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Why Watt joining 49ers after Texans release is so unlikely originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The news of J.J. Watt's departure from the Houston Texans this offseason after a decade left fans and analysts around the NFL scrambling to forecast where the 31-year-old defensive lineman might be taking his talents to next.

Watt was quick to shout out former teammate and new 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans after he was promoted to replace Robert Saleh following the 2020 season, but could that connection lead to a union between the veteran and the 49ers?

NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco explains why it isn't likely we see the five-time All-Pro coming to the Bay Area this offseason.

"The 49ers don't even really warrant consideration among the teams that could be interested in Watt," Maiocco said on "49ers Talk." "He is soon to be 32 years old, and he's missed most of three of the past five seasons with injuries.

"The 49ers have a lot of other priorities on how to spend their money this offseason. Left tackle Trent Williams is priority No. 1, Fred Warner is due a huge contract extension this offseason, so unless Watt is willing to play for considerably less than what another team might offer, there's really no reason to believe that he fits into the 49ers' plan, let alone their very limited budget."

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Per Overthecap.com, the 49ers have $13.4 million in salary-cap space with free agency yet to get officially underway. Watt made $15.5 million in 2020 with the Texans, and although he will be entering his 11th NFL season, he likely wants to have an average annual value somewhere near that number with whatever team he elects to sign with.

The oddsmakers also don't see much of a chance of Watt joining the 49ers, as the organization isn't among the 12 teams with the best odds to land the star. (Odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.)

As Maiocco elaborated on, the only chance of the two sides coming together would be if Watt was willing to take a much lower salary than he'll likely be offered by teams with more available cap room.

So don't start ordering your Watt jerseys in 49ers red just yet, but this will be a major storyline to follow throughout the NFL offseason.

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