Right when he (or at least social media types) had you thinking he was going to wind up in Cleveland, Buffalo or even Pittsburgh, J.J. Watt, the most legendary Watt brother of them all, took a hard left and signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals on Monday.
The deal is worth $31 million, with $23 million guaranteed.
That’s right, in the same week that Ben Roethlisberger, the guy few people thought would ever agree to do such a thing, took a pay-cut to both remain with the Steelers and allow them a better chance to compete in 2021, the Watt brother that everyone was sure would be willing to take the lowest salary possible in order to play with a contender, instead, appeared to make money a higher priority.
I am not surprised, and I don’t blame Watt one single bit.
If you are surprised by Watt’s decision, you really shouldn’t be.
For one thing, Watt already had many suitors lined up the second he was granted his release from the Texans. Naturally, those teams were going to do whatever they could to entice Watt to sign with them, namely, throw lots and lots of money his way. It’s one thing for an athlete to say he’s all about winning championships, but you don’t really see the proof in the pudding until those offers begin to pile up. Secondly, most professional athletes are businessmen first and athletes second, and if you don’t think that’s the case, to quote Mark Madden, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. Third, most big-time professional athletes and successful business types have fairly healthy egos. When you have a healthy ego, it’s a lot easier to be lured and enticed by the almighty dollar.
Putting money aside for one moment, perhaps Watt was looking for a situation that not only paid him well but that was also an attractive work environment. Is a championship important to Watt? I’m sure it is, but maybe it’s also important to him that he enjoys going into the office each and every day. Let’s not forget, one of the reasons he was so unhappy in Houston—and one of the reasons Deshaun Watson apparently feels the same way—was because of a toxic work environment. As someone who isn’t exactly enjoying his new job, I can tell you that eventually takes its toll on you physically, emotionally and mentally.
As for the Steelers angle, maybe Watt would have enjoyed it in Pittsburgh, but maybe he would have also felt the burden of the Watt Brothers sitcom that he likely would have had to play a major role in on a daily basis.
I love my family, but I also love going my own way and doing my own thing. Perhaps, J.J. Watt is just fine seeing T.J. and Derek at Thanksgiving and while shooting the occasional Subway commercial.
In the end, there was probably a combination of reasons why J.J. Watt signed with the Cardinals, but the money side of it was likely the biggest draw.
Nothing wrong with that.