Yes, the Dolphins should absolutely call up J.J. Watt

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Kyle Crabbs
·2 min read
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One of the best defenders of the past decade in the NFL is suddenly on the open market. The Houston Texans have granted defensive lineman JJ Watt’s outright release from the team this morning — meaning the future first-ballot Hall of Fame defender is on the open market and free to sign with any team of his choosing at any point.

The Miami Dolphins need to place a phone call.

Yes, the Dolphins are a team dialed in on a youth movement and keeping a young nucleus of players ready to compete for a long time. But Miami won’t be able to simply push the envelope to become a Super Bowl contender without filling in the void with some more seasoned players — and you’d be hard pressed to find a better scheme fit for the Dolphins on the free agent market than what Watt could bring to Miami as both an interior and perimeter pass rusher.

No, Watt isn’t in the prime of his career anymore. He’ll be 32 years old in March. But the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-Pro defender has managed to play 16 games in two of his last three seasons and appears to have plenty left in the tank, even if the ceiling of play isn’t going to warrant All-Pro honors anymore.

The Dolphins are a few pieces away on the defensive side of the football from having the right mix of talent to catapult from an upper tier defense (which they were in 2020) to an elite one. Watt would fill a void and alleviate the team’s need to find a pass rusher early in the 2021 NFL Draft to serve as a complement to the pieces the Dolphins already have in place. There will be competition for his services that the Dolphins must be wary of and avoid overpaying the veteran defender — if some team comes in with an eight figure contract for 2021, Miami would need to punt or try to sell him on playing in Miami for less money.

It’s hard to say whether or not he’d take such a proposition, especially when if he takes less money he’d have the opportunity to reunite with both of his brothers in Pittsburgh with the Steelers.

But Miami would be foolish to not make a bid for Watt’s services; his experience and skill set would be well utilized here in Miami and he’s presumably hungry to contend for an elusive championship. Ironically enough, so are the Dolphins. And both sides are presumably ready to make the jump sooner rather than later. Other more accomplished teams will call, too — including possibly Green Bay (with a return to Wisconsin in the pitch) and the Steelers.

But Miami’s pitch has a chance to be a darn good one, too. The Dolphins need to make sure he hears it.