Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has been one of the premier pass-rushers in the NFL for the past decade. The former No. 11 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has led the NFL in sacks two different times and has recorded a whopping 101 sacks over 127 career games played. With the franchise in flux and Watt turning 32 this upcoming offseason, however, his future with the Texans -- and his contract -- is not guaranteed.
On Thursday, Watt was asked if he sees himself playing for the Texans in 2021. His response was not exactly encouraging.
"There's a whole lot of unknowns, so we'll see what happens," Watt said, via Aaron Reiss of The Athletic. "I don't have any guarantees left in my contract, so something's gotta happen one way or another."
Back in September of 2014, Watt signed a six-year extension worth up to $100 million with the Texans. Watt will be entering the last year of his contract in 2021 and is set to make $17,500,000 in base salary, according to Spotrac. More importantly, however, the Texans wouldn't have to deal with any kind of dead cap if they were to part ways with him. As he said, there are no guarantees left in his contract.
In May of this offseason, Watt said that he would not be asking the Texans to extend his contract. He said that he didn't deem it "necessary," and that he wasn't going to demand anything because it "would be the wrong move."
Watt is the best player in Texans franchise history, with accolades such as five first-team All-Pro selections, five Pro Bowl selections and three years as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He has been the heart and soul of this defense through both good times and bad. After Sunday's embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals for example, Watt unleashed a lengthy commentary on players who don't care about winning, while also apologizing to Texans fans for the club's "trash" season.
Watt is just two years removed from a 16-sack season, but his play has noticeably dipped in 2020. He has recorded 49 combined tackles through 15 games, which will likely be the lowest total of his career in a season in which he has played double-digit games, and has recorded just five sacks. With a new head coach and new general manager on the way in Houston, Watt's situation is surely one to keep an eye on.