The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, nearing the end of the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.
There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the year. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in the scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.
Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.
There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: Who can bribe J.J. Watt to play one more season in Pittsburgh with his brothers on the cheap?
Future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt essentially announced yesterday that he is going to be retiring from the NFL after the conclusion of the 2022 season after 12 years in the league. A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, his long-term legacy is unquestioned, the only thing missing on his resume is winning a championship.
The older brother of three NFL talents, the other two are both in Pittsburgh, including baby brother T.J. Watt, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Watt is among the highest-paid defensive players in football. Middle brother Derek Watt is going to be a free agent after this season.
The Watts are big on family, and J.J. has expressed great appreciation for the fact that T.J. and Derek have gotten the opportunity to play together at the NFL level. He has expressed some disappointment that he never had the same opportunity at any level to play on the same team as his brothers. J.J.’s contract with the Cardinals voids after this year. They did get the chance to be on the field together one time.
I’m not out here to suggest that this is at all likely, or even possible, but if J.J. were to have a change of heart, you’d think Pittsburgh would be an option he would consider. Obviously, the numbers would be the issue, but with Larry Ogunjobi set to be a free agent in 2023, it’s not like they’re committed to anybody in his spot.
If there’s anybody out there who could get J.J. to consider playing one more year and doing so in Pittsburgh, it would have to be his two nephews by Derek and his middle brother’s wife. J.J. just recently welcomed his first child of his own, and that likely strongly influenced his decision to retire. But could he consider retiring in Pittsburgh? It’s not like he ended his career in Houston, although Arizona is not a bad place to retire. Or he could just go back to Wisconsin. But he’d look good in the black and gold. A fan can dream. It’d certainly be cool and if he had any inkling to play one more year, I can’t imagine that he would be closed to it as an option.