I get it.
I get the desire of Steelers’ fans, maybe of the team itself, to want JJ Watt. Can the dude still play? You bet. Even the talk of him being injury-prone is overblown. The dude’s played all 16 games in two of the last three seasons. And the story of him linking up with both of his brothers? Seeing all three on the same team together will bring you to tears quicker than a Tom Rinaldi piano playing feature (you know what I’m talking about).
But completing the Watt trifecta is a want. Not a need.
Even believing the Steelers won’t be in salary cap hell if the number comes in around $185 million, they’re still circling the drain. A limited number of financial resources with lots of holes to fill. The laundry list of free agents about to walk out the door.
Pittsburgh’s priority these next six weeks is to retain as many of those guys as possible. Not allocate what little money they do have on outside free agents at positions they don’t need. And that’s who Watt is. A talented outside free agent, sure, but that’s not where the Steelers’ focus needs to lie.
The outside free agents they do go after will be ones much cheaper than whatever Watt will command, even if we assume he’d take a discount to come to Pittsburgh. The players they’ll target are the typical Kevin Colbert free agent moves. Cheap veterans at positions of obvious need so the team doesn’t go into the draft with a red flashing gotta draft it light at any one spot. That’s when you get desperate. That’s when you take Artie Burns because you just *had* to have a corner.
Defensive end/tackle isn’t a need. Steelers’ fans know that. Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt are among the best at their position. Watt’s not coming here to take their starting spot. So Pittsburgh could use their money on a starter or they could use it on Watt, some sort of rotational backup.
The mission of the offseason is to get bang for your buck. If Pittsburgh was flush with cash and could easily re-sign the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mike Hilton, Alejandro Villanueva without much hassle? Then I’d be much more open to the idea of adding the third Watt brother. He would make this team better. But at the expense of those other names? Younger players, more valuable positions and roles? Even believing the report the Steelers have interest, it’s a luxury and hard for the Steelers to justify the cost.
Want Watt? Sure.
Need Watt? No.