A few years ago the Cleveland Browns would have never been in a position to land a player like J.J. Watt but as it turns out, it might just be the number one choice for the former Houston Texans’ defensive end.
Sources told Cleveland.com on Tuesday that the Browns check off several of Watt’s boxes when it comes to picking his future team, with the biggest draws being a serious Super Bowl contender and money.
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Earlier reports indicated that at least a dozen teams were looking at Watt on Friday, shortly after he announced that the Texans “mutually” agreed to grant his request to be released after 10 seasons.
Among the interested teams include the Pittsburgh Steelers, where both of Watt’s brothers play, but the Browns have something that others don’t have — cap space.
According to the report, Watt was set to make just over $17 million in Houston and will be looking to make around that much in his new contract. The Steelers are currently $30 million over their cap space while the Browns have about $21.7 million in space.
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The Buffalo Bills, another team reportedly intertest in Watt, have just over $300,000 in space according to OverTheCap.com.
A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the year, Watt will definitely be looking to get paid but another aspect he will be seeking is championship potential.
The Steelers showed the most promise at the start of the season but quickly unraveled while the Browns maintained consistency throughout, reaching their first playoff since 2002. The Buffalo Bills, despite lacking in capital, offer the greatest chance for Watt after making it to the AFC Championship game this year only to lose to the defending Super Bowl champs.
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Watt is turning 32 next month and will likely have only a few seasons left in him. He’s said in the past he’s not interested in being a part of a rebuild.