Free agent J.J. Watt spurns Buffalo Bills for Arizona

New York Giants, JJ Watt

Despite a supposedly promising social media update earlier in the day, J.J. Watt will not join the Buffalo Bills.

A promising lead involving J.J. Watt’s supposed Peloton profile veered off course for the Buffalo Bills on Monday.

Bills fans were enthused by a report from ESPN’s Field Yates, who claimed a Peloton profile belonging to Watt narrowed his free agency destinations down to Buffalo and two other contenders from Cleveland and Green Bay. However, Watt refuted ownership of such an exercise bike on Twitter and later revealed that he would instead be signing with the Arizona Cardinals in a separate post. The latter image shows the former Houston Texan lifting weights, clad in Cardinals gear, and is accompanied by the captions “source: me”. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the deal is worth $31 million over two seasons with $23 million guaranteed.

With this move, Watt joins fellow disgruntled former Texan DeAndre Hopkins, who united with quarterback Kyler Murray for 1,407 yards through the air.

Yates owned his refuted report, later threading the original Peloton tweet with a GIF of animated character Homer Simpson awkwardly disappearing into shrubs. It likely does nothing to soothe the blow dealt to Bills fans who wanted to see Watt in Western New York. Some Bills-supporting social media users, perhaps desperate, got their hopes up for such a union when Watt posted a tweet about “mitochondria” last week, reasoning a local medical research center in Buffalo bore the same name.

Though the Bills will miss out on Watt, he of three Defensive Player of the Year awards and 101 sacks over a ten-season career with the Texans, there are plenty of options available to them on the free agency front to bolster their pass rush, including Leonard Williams, Matt Judon, and Shaquil Barrett.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

How J.J. Watt’s “mitochondria” tweet invokes the Buffalo Bills

New York Giants, JJ Watt

Watt’s Tuesday morning science lesson sent Buffalo Bills fans into hysterics as the prized defender seeks his next destination.

The day elementary school science teachers prepared us for finally came on Tuesday morning.

Superstar free agent J.J. Watt set football Twitter ablaze with a cryptic posting that simply read “Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell”. Watt, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, offered no context for his scientific observation. Such labeling of mitochondria is common in biology textbooks and the phrase gained a bit of notoriety in 2013, when Tumblr users mocked the supposed uselessness of this information being taught in schools. Mitochondria are found in the cells of most eukaryotic organisms (whose cells contain a membrane encased nucleus).

With Watt set to move on from the rebuilding Houston Texans, fans and analysts couldn’t help but wonder if the prized defender was hinting at his new destination. The organelle held particular meaning for fans of the Buffalo Bills, as some fans pointed out that Buffalo is home to the Mitochondria Research Society. The MRS is described on the National Organization for Rare Disorders’ (NORD) site as “a non-profit, international organization of scientists and physicians. The purpose of MRS is to find a cure for mitochondrial diseases by promoting research on basic science of mitochondria, mitochondria pathogenesis, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment throughout the world”.

Buffalo fans were hardly alone in trying to decipher Watt’s tweet in their favor. Syracuse.com’s Ryan Talbot jokingly pointed out mitochondria’s bean-like shape, facetiously declaring that Watt was negotiating with Bills general manager Brandon Beane. Talbot’s mentions were quickly filled by overzealous fans of the Chicago Bears, who insisted that Watt was referring to the Windy City’s Cloud Gate sculpture, commonly referred to as “The Bean”. None of the league’s fanbases were truly without guilt in this endeavor, each stretching their own theory further than the last. Only Bills fans, it would appear, were able to find a local landmark to strengthen their case. 

Watt, 31, requested his release from the Texans after a decade in Houston. While a bittersweet breakup, the split appeared to be mutual, with Watt’s wish fulfilled by owner Cal McNair. Watt has earned countless accolades in his NFL career and departs Houston as the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles for a loss (172) and All-Pro nominations (5). He earned 52 tackles and five sacks, as well as the sixth touchdown of his career (and first since 2014) last season, as he partook in all 16 games after his 0219 campaign was mostly lost due to a torn pectoral. 

Despite Watt’s apparent hint, don’t expect the former Texan to make a decision any time soon. He indicated as such when responding to an impatient follower on Sunday night.

“I scroll through door dash for like an hour before I pick a restaurant man…” [sic] Watt told the fan. “You’re gonna have to give me a second to choose a new team and city.” [sic].

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: One interesting JJ Watt Scenario

New York Giants, JJ Watt

The New York Giants have several difficult decisions to make this off-season, especially when it comes to their available money. Free agency will likely be weaker than usual, as the Giants currently sit at about $3.4 million above the salary cap. With the likelihood that Nate Solder will be cut post-June 1 and Golden Tate will undergo the same treatment, the Giants can open up about $19 million in available money. However, that money won’t be available until post-June 1, so they will need to find ways to sign players without hurting themselves down the line.

Retaining Leonard Williams on a multi-year deal is likely a priority for the Giants, but there is one interesting scenario that allows them to move on from Williams and acquire an elite pass rusher for less money.

The New York Giants could consider a move on JJ Watt:

Rumors have indicated that the Houston Texans could cut or trade JJ Watt, who has only recorded 9.0 sacks over the last two seasons. Nonetheless, the Houston defense has been lackluster the past two years, with Watt representing their only true threat. Injecting him into a unit like the Giants with stellar coaching and better personnel, he would likely find himself hitting double digits in the sack category once again.

Some might be concerned about his injury history, as Watt has missed 8 games over the last three years. A player of his quality, though, is extremely impactful and would only help the defense moving forward.

There is an argument to be made that Leonard Williams is even more valuable, considering he’s never missed a game due to injury and racked up 11.5 sacks last year. It is clear that he can thrive under Graham on defense, but if the Giants are forced to let Dalvin Tomlinson walk, that dynamic duo could hurt Williams’ production in 2021. Watt has proven he can dominate and produce without stellar pieces around him, as he recorded 16 sacks in 2018. He also recorded seven forced fumbles in that season and two last year.

In this interesting scenario, the Giants let Williams walk, who is likely looking for $20+ million per season. They can wait until the Houston Texans inevitably cut JJ Watt and offer him $15-17 million per year for the next 2–3 seasons. By backloading his contract to the second year, they can also fit Tomlinson into their available cap space. It would essentially be a trade-off, Watt for Williams.

There are plenty of arguments to make against this scenario, notably that Williams is five years younger and is historically healthy. He also is coming off a phenomenal season and has a year of experience with Patrick Graham’s style/scheme. Watt will be entering a new media market and system, so it could take him some time to adjust. With that being said, he is so experienced that I wouldn’t put much weight into the adapting factor.

This is an intriguing idea that would lower the Giants’ financial obligations to the defensive line while also acquiring an elite talent that has a few years left to produce. The savings would also benefit Big Blue exponentially, allowing them to make the decision to keep Tomlinson and slide/or rollover more money into the wide receiver position.

New York Giants: Should the Giants purse J.J. Watt this offseason?

New York Giants, JJ Watt

There is a new player in Houston that wants out, and his name is not Deshaun Watson. J.J. Watt seems to be on the move this offseason if it’s a trade or if the Houston Texans decided to release him. If the Texans decided to put Watt on the trading block or flat out release him, should the New York Giants make the move to bring Watt in New York?

The 31-year-old Watt is in the final year of a six-year, $100 million deal and is scheduled to make $17.5 million in 2021. So if the Giants were to be interested in taking Watt on, along with trying to re-sign Leonard Williams, they may have to get creative with the salary situation.

If the Giants would like to wait if Watt gets released, they could be in a bidding war with some other teams. One team that stands out to me would be the Pittsburgh Steelers. How awesome would it be if J.J. has a chance to play football with his two brothers, T.J. and Derek Watt?

What would the Giants have to give up to acquire Watt from Houston?

It honestly depends on what Houston wants. They currently do not have a first or second-round pick in the 2021 Draft. They may ask for a player-maker on offense if they decide to Watson long-term. Maybe tight end Evan Engram and no less than a fifth-round pick to Watt would be interesting.

Besides Watt’s play, what would Watt bring to the Giants?

What Watt would bring to the Giants is that missing voice they need in the locker room and on the field. He’s an on-field general who would lead by example, someone they haven’t really had since Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck. The Giants finally have a voice in the secondary in Logan Ryan, the linebackers have Blake Martinez, and now the defensive line can have Watt now as their voice.

What Watt also brings is his experiences. Watt has played in eight playoff games in his career, has been a 5x Pro Bowler, and a 5x All-Pro at the age of 31. Watt has also been a 3x DPOY winner. He brings a lot of impressive accolades with him to New York, many of the young guys will have a chance to listen and play with Watt would turn this team around.

Watt does so much more to a team than just perform on the field. He is a difference-maker on and off the field. Watt also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award back in 2017. Watt would be a player that I personally would be very excited to see in Blue and White!

NFL: Texans JJ is Just Watt Football Needs

New York Giants, JJ Watt

J.J. Watt is one of the most prolifically adroit and adept defensive ends in the entire game of football past and present.  Watt is a powerhouse in every sense of the word and is a true playmaker.

What makes Watt truly admirable are not just the amazing plays he makes, but all of the wonderful things he does off the field.  Watt is one of the classiest people you will find.  He makes it his mission to give back in any way he can.    Through his foundation the J.J. Watt Foundation, he has helped countless individuals by providing middle schoolers across the country with after school opportunities like athletics so they can learn important skills needed for football and beyond.  Watt has also provided funding for schools that need it and has made a difference in the lives of students and faculty by providing sports gear and equipment enriching the lives of all involved.  When disaster hit Texas in the form of the highly destructive Hurricane Harvey, Watt hosted a fundraiser to benefit the Houston area and it’s school’s athletic departments and to provide essential supplies to those affected by the aftermath.  To show his appreciation for some of our nation’s hardest workers, Watt gave the VIP experience to teachers providing them tickets to his Charity Classic.  Through his donations and dedicated time, Watt has been a pillar of hope and positivity for those that need it most.

Watt is one of the kindest, most down-to-earth guys you will ever find.  On the field he is a force to be reckoned with, but off of it he is nothing but a beacon of light!  Watt makes it an absolute honor and privilege to be a fan of his and there are not enough positive words to describe Watt and the impact he has made in the game of football and beyond! 

Watt and his brothers Derek and T.J. will host a game show called “Ultimate Tag” which is set to premiere on May 20th on FOX.  

 

New York Giants: Rookie Defensive Lineman Made An Immediate Impact

New York Giants, B.J. Hill

The New York Giants had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2017. That did not change in 2018, as the Giants’ defense in 2018 ranked 23rd in yards allowed per game and 24 in points allowed per game.

Despite the overall poor play by the defense, the Giants did have a couple standout players on the team. Third round rookie B.J. Hill was an impact player in 2018 and has shown promise as a building block for the future.

B.J. Hill Rookie Season Highlights And Statistics

In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Giants selected B.J. Hill out of North Carolina State in the third round. The Giants used the pick they received from the Buccaneers in a trade for Jason Pierre-Paul. Giants fans should be thankful that Gettleman was able to receive a third round pick for JPP. Pierre-Paul is an aging veteran whose production had been falling each season. B.J. Hill is a promising young rookie with high potential.

Hill racked up the tackles this season. From his interior defensive line position, Hill was able to produce 48 combined tackles on the season. He also added 6 tackles for loss.

B.J. Hill plays as an interior defensive lineman, but he is not merely a run stuffer. Hill proved that he is an excellent interior penetrator. B.J. Hill set a New York Giants franchise record in 2018. His 5.5 sacks were the most ever by a rookie in Giants history since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. The 5.5 sacks were also the fourth most by a rookie this season. This statistic proves B.J. Hill will be a force on the Giants’ defense for years to come.

50+ tackles and 5+ sacks puts B.J. Hill in elite company. Other notable rookie defensive linemen in NFL history with 50+ tackles and 5+ sacks include: J.J. Watt, Ndamukong Suh, Kevin Williams, Justin Smith, Jevon Kearse, Simeon Rice, Charles Haley, and Reggie White.

B.J. Hill’s most impressive game came in week 13 against the Chicago Bears. This was Hill’s coming out party. Fans were not completely aware of Hill until this game, as he broke out with a 3 sack performance in the Giants’ overtime victory. He also added multiple pressures and two tackles for loss. Hill was especially disruptive against Chicago and helped the Giants come away with a big win.

The New York Giants were lucky to find B.J. Hill in the third round of the 2018 Draft. The Giants will need to build around Hill and continue to add pieces around him to improve the defense in 2019.