One of the biggest moves of the offseason is done as J.J. Watt to the Cardinals became a reality. The three-time Defensive Player of The Year was the fancy of plenty of teams but Kliff Kingsbury is the lucky man that gets the star defender. Since he took to Twitter to announce his decision to leave the Houston Texans, every single tweet, Facebook post, and Instagram message from Watt has been analyzed for clues. Even his peloton bio was deciphered for some sort of hint. As it turns out, we were all wrong. It wasn’t the Pittsburgh Steelers and it wasn’t his home state team of Green Bay. It was J.J. Watt to the Arizona Cardinals.
J.J. Watt to the Cardinals
The huge move of J.J. Watt to the Cardinals gives Arizona a player who is an absolute wrecking ball on the defensive side of the Gridiron. As previously mentioned, he is a three-time defensive player of the year, he holds the Texans record for most sacks and forced fumbles and was also the first player to record two twenty-plus sack seasons. He even has three touchdown receptions to his name.
All in all, a formidable force and one of the best football players we have ever seen. The deal works out at two-years for 31 million dollars with 23 million in guarantees.
J.J. Watt to the Cardinals brings one of the more formidable players ever to Glendale. So the Cardinals get a generational talent, but what does it mean for the rest of the NFC West?
Since he entered the league in 2011 he has played for the same team against the same divisional rivals. The Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Tennessee Titans will be glad to see the star defensive end go. They may however be getting plenty of phonecalls round about now from panicked head coaches and offensive coordinators in the NFC when they hear the J.J. watt to the Cardinals news.
For years now Arizona has been the whipping boys of the NFC West. Seattle has won a Super Bowl and been to another. San Francisco has their storied history and has been to a Super Bowl in recent years and the Los Angeles Rams narrowly lost out on Super Bowl glory. Arizona’s fortunes may be about to change.
Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray have electrified the Cardinals’ offense and when they brought in DeAndre Hopkins (another former Texan) they took a huge step towards being a Super Bowl contender. But as the famous phrase goes defense wins championships.
On their respective Super Bowl runs each team in the NFC West had incredible defenses. The Seattle Seahawks had the Legion of Boom, the Rams had the one-man wrecking crew in Aaron Donald and the 49ers had Nick Bosa and that incredible front seven. Arizona has been missing that defense until now.
Now Arizona has a few sack masters in the red and white. In 2020 Haason Reddick racked up 12.5 sacks and he forced six fumbles as well. With J.J. Watt lined up on the opposite side his numbers are only going to improve. Reddick took a few years to settle into the defense but under Vance Joseph in 2020 he was incredible.
Along with Reddick, the Cardinals have a star defensive end of their own in Chandler Jones. Despite missing the 2020 season with injury Jones has been a key component on the defensive side of the ball since he joined the Cardinals. In the four full seasons, he has played as a Cardinal, Jones has 11, 17, 13, and 19 sacks. Throw J.J. Watt into the mix and the Cardinals have one of the best pass rush defenses in the league.
His New Opponents
When it comes to his new opponents, they should be worried, extremely worried. Seattle currently finds itself trying to keep a quarterback on the roster who is fed up being sacked. Imagine how Russell Wilson is feeling right now? Not only does he have to face Aaron Donald and Nick Bosa twice a year he now has to face J.J. Watt twice a year, as well.
That is the stuff of nightmares for any quarterback never mind one who found himself hurried more than most in 2020. The biggest impact J.J. Watt to the Cardinals might have is that Russell Wilson sees yet another team in the division get better. The Rams got a QB, the ‘Niners will theoretically be healthy, and now this.
As for the aforementioned Rams and the 49ers, they both find themselves either with a new quarterback or potentially in the market for one. Not only does the new quarterback have to get used to a new system they now need to prepare for the three-time defensive player of the year twice in a season.
Getting pressure on the quarterback is the heart and soul of any defense and Arizona now finds itself with one of the healthiest hearts in the league. An opponent that has been getting better and better just took a huge step on the defensive side of the ball.
The NFC West has been one of the most competitive divisions in football for a few years now. Arizona found itself on the outside looking in for the last few seasons. Now, with an improving secondary and a front seven that has three players with a nose for the quarterback the Cardinals could be slap bang in a Super Bowl window.
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