With three weeks to go before the start of the 2021 league year, there’s probably not too many people left who objectively believe that former Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will ultimately sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers. NFL Insider John Clayton is one of those objective people that believe Watt will sign with a team other than the Steelers in the near future and he said as much during his Wednesday interview on 93.7 The Fan.
“No, I don’t,” Clayton said when asked if he thinks the Steelers will sign the oldest Watt brother this offseason. “I think it’s going to be Tennessee, Buffalo or Green Bay. Probably more Tennessee or Green Bay. Outside chance of the Raiders, but they can’t afford him.”
While Clayton doesn’t think the Steelers will land Watt, he said Wednesday he’s more interested in seeing what the former Texans defensive end winds up signing for.
“I’m so anxious to see what he ends up getting, because one thing if you notice, in particularly in a year like this, if you’re going to be a veteran player in the mid-thirties, which he is, you may have struggles just to get a $10 million a year contract,” Clayton said. “Last year, for example, Ndamukong Suh, of the guys in their mid-thirties, got the best free agent contract at one-year, $8 million. And what you’re going to see this year is you’re going to see a lot of the guys that were expecting to get $8, $9, $10 million getting $6 and $7 million. So, I’m anxious to see what Watt’s going to be able to get.”
As I posted on Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns are the latest favorites to sign Watt, according to updated odds released by SportsLine and the Steelers were right behind them at +250. The Browns, however, have a lot more salary cap space to work with than the Steelers, who aren’t even under the cap still with three weeks to go until they must be.
And while Clayton did not mention the Browns on Tuesday during his interview as a potential landing spot for Watt, he updated his thoughts on the subject on Twitter later in the day and included Cleveland as one of a dozen teams pursuing the veteran free agent defensive end. By the sound of things, however, the Steelers are not one of those dozen teams interested in signing Watt with three weeks to go before the start of the 2021 league year.
People are misinterpreting what I said on radio today. I said Tennessee, Green Bay and Buffalo were the leading teams for J.J. Watt but not the final three. Watt hasn't narrowed his list. The Cleveland Browns are still in. So are the Raiders. He has a dozen teams after him.
— John Clayton (@JohnClaytonNFL) February 24, 2021