J.J. Watt was able to get out of the Houston Texans drama, a benefit of having a large contract, with the team saving significant amounts of salary cap space by releasing him. Deshaun Watson, the team's franchise quarterback, doesn't have that luxury because he's the one player who can get the Texans through a rebuild and keep them competitive over the next several years.
There's one issue. Watson isn't exactly sold on staying in Houston much longer, especially after the series of moves the front office has made over the past year. As Watt is starting a new journey with the Arizona Cardinals, he has one wish for Watson as the Texans quarterback contemplates his immediate future.
"I love Deshaun. I love Deshaun," Watt said on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday. "We speak often. He's an incredible player, but he's also an incredible person. He's a special human being and he's obviously unbelievably talented as an athlete, but he is also just a great person. And I tell him, the one thing I want for Deshaun Watson is for him to be happy. He deserves it and I want him to be happy. So whatever that looks like for him, that's what I want for him."
Watt and Watson were teammates in Houston for four seasons, two pillars of a franchise that captured consecutive AFC South division titles and won a playoff game in 2019. The Texans moved on from Watt because he was coming off a career-low in sacks for a full season (five) and the franchise saved $17.5 million in cap space by releasing him.
Watson's situation is very different. He's entering a $156 million contract extension and the Texans would eat $51.2 million in salary cap space by trading him, which would be an NFL record. While the return would be multiple first-round picks -- at the very least -- the Texans would lose a top-five quarterback in dealing Watson.
Watt just wants the best for his former quarterback, whatever he decides. If Watson does try to force his way out of Houston, so be it.