JJ Watt is on the move to the Arizona Cardinals

5 Way Too Early Predictions for JJ Watt and the Cardinals

  • arizona cardinals
  • Bear Bryant
  • Budda Baker
  • JJ Watt
  • Kyler Murray
  • NFC West
  • NFL
By Alex Wood March 3, 2021 0 Comment
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JJ Watt changes things for the Cardinals; it also obviously changes how many around the NFL will look at the Cardinals for the next two years.

JJ Watt changes things for the Cardinals, that is for sure. The former Houston Texan announced he was officially signing with Arizona on a two-year $31 million deal on Twitter. Watt’s decision certainly changes how many around the NFL will look at the Cardinals for the next two years. Watt is a superstar and turns Arizona into a team with an explosive defense. Even before the NFL draft, it is way too early to predict what Watt will bring to the Cardinals and what will change next season; which is why we’re going to do exactly that.

Leadership in the locker room improves

The Cardinals had eight captains last season. That number could stay at eight with veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald still staying quiet on his future. It might mean a spot for JJ Watt the get the illustrious C on his jersey. Even if Watt isn’t given the coveted C, it will still improve the veteran presence for a young team in Arizona and allow a more controlled area that will enable growth on and off the field for players of all calibers.

Seeing Red: JJ Watt Shocks the NFL World

A defense you can rely on

The Cardinals were ranked 13th in total yards allowed for the defense last season and 12th for points allowed. However, many fans remain concerned about the defense. The absence of Chandler Jones was one of the main reasons the defense was lackluster. Watt adds depth in quality, which the Cardinals had, but one or two injuries prevented the Cardinals from making the playoffs. Therefore, you can never have too many good players on that side of the ball.

Watt who?

The Cardinals starting defense with JJ Watt is a monstrous set of human beings. Chandler Jones, Budda Baker, Jordan Hicks, Devon Kennard, and young gun Isaiah Simmons are ridiculous. With Watt on the Cardinals, more players will be forced to double-team the veteran. J.J. Watt was double-teamed more than any other edge rusher in the NFL last season – at a rate of 30.1%, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

So if Watt is getting double-teamed, who is looking at the other guys? Watt has been frequently known for sacrificing his numbers so his team-mates can get production. Isn’t it about who wins the game, not who wins Defensive Player of the Year?

Watt Does JJ Bring to the Cardinals’ Defense?

Allowing the offense to eat

The Cardinals were the sixth-best offense last season, but their defense let them down too many times. Six of the Cardinals’ eight losses in the 2020-21 season were by one score. The offense did not get a chance to get back onto the field in half of those six losses. It has already been stated Watt’s mere presence improves the Arizona defense.

With fewer points given up and more time for Kyler Murray and company to work downfield and score points. So you’d be right in saying the defense is where the Cards fell short last season. With an improved defense, it means better field position, less pressure for the offense, and the old quote from Bear Bryant: “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.”

Who’s next?

With Watt getting paid, it’s easy to think the Cardinals’ defense is set. But many Cardinals defenders will be free agents in a few weeks. De’Vondre Campbell, Markus Golden, Haason Reddick, Isaiah Irving, and Kylie Fitts are all due to hit the streets this offseason. The money that went to Watt might have been used to re-sign some of these players to new deals.

The Cardinals are among the top ten teams with the most free agents and only have $14 million cap space to work with. Not all of these players warrant deals, but Reddick and Campbell played over 80% of snaps for the Cards this year, and neither will be cheap. In the NFL, it is a ruthless business, and if a better player is available, you make way for him. The Cardinals did not have that reputation. Times change, loyalty, however, should not.

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