In a move that signals the end of an era for the Houston Texans, the franchise unconditionally released defensive end J.J. Watt on the morning of Friday, February 12.

Watt had an incredible run over ten years in Houston, amassing 101.0 sacks, five Pro Bowl selections, and three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. Putting those accolades in even more perspective, Watt played in five games or less twice due to injury (three in 2016 and five in 2017), as well as only eight games in 2019. In other words, he was named to five Pro Bowls, three Defensive Player of the Year titles, and five All-Pro First Team selections in just seven full season on the field.

At 31 years old, coming off a full 16-game season, Watt still has a ton of value and could have garnered massive attention on the trade market. But the veteran reportedly asked the franchise for his release, giving Watt the opportunity to sign with any team he chooses. Out of what appears to be an abundance of respect for the long-time franchise cornerstone, the Texans granted Watt’s request.

Now in two years, the Texans have traded away wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and released defensive captain J.J. Watt. The writing may be on the wall for quarterback Deshaun Watson to be next, with trade rumors swirling around the quarterback. Texans fans may be hard to console if the franchise loses all three stars in such a short span of time.

As for Watt, the two-time NFL sack leader will likely look to play for a contender. The possibility of teaming up with brothers T.J. and Derek Watt on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster is a seemingly obvious choice, but quite a few contenders will likely put their name in the hat for Watt’s services.

Watt, a former 2011 first round draft pick out of Wisconsin, released a self-recorded video to clarify the situation, as well as express his gratitude to the franchise, fan base, and city of Houston.

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Header Photo: Next Man Up Sports

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