The Cleveland Browns need help on their defensive front four and the Houston Texans J.J. Watt would provide the exact type of help.
The Browns need some real help upfront. Especially with guys who can play interior and exterior line positions. Like the one down in Houston. When you have a player like J.J. Watt, who’s capable of getting to the quarterback against anyone on the offensive line, you have a real value player. While Watt is technically a defensive end, he has lined up inside of guards before and can fill in as a defensive tackle from time to time. It’s the same idea that Myles Garrett embraced this year, lining up all over the line for the best matchup.
The only difference is that Watt can do that all game and not just for a play. Watt’s bigger and stronger than Garrett, and is a better player off of run plays. He’s accustomed to 60-70 tackles a season and usually, a third of those are behind the line of scrimmage. He’s been completely healthy two of the last three years and really had a solid, though unspectacular season last year coming off of an injury-filled 2019.
Some believe the Browns should go after Watt only if he’s willing to restructure his contract. I don’t agree. Watt is owed $17 million this year, just $6 million more than Olivier Vernon. That’s very affordable considering the type of player he is.
Now some could argue he’s fallen off some form his 2018 season, and while I don’t necessarily agree, I would argue that a Watt that’s only 70% of what he was is still better than 90% of players at his position.
Not only that but Watt has never played with another true All-Pro caliber player before. See for yourself, he’s the only Texans player to ever be an All-Pro on the defensive side of the ball. The only two players he played with that were even expected Pro Bowl-caliber players were Jonathan Joseph and Jadeveon Clowney. It’s fair to say Clowney is a bust and only ever looked as good as he did because Watt was there to draw double and triple teams. Imagine what Watt could be like if he was part of a well-built unit. He’d have far more one-on-one opportunities, as would Garrett.
If the Browns acquire Watt, bring back Vernon on a much cheaper deal and hopefully get Garrett back, you’re looking at three guys who can lineup on the line and get some pressure. That should be the Browns’ first big move of the offseason, getting Watt.
It shouldn’t cost too much, as it’s believed that they want to move him and he wants to be moved. Watt in Cleveland is a dream come true, so let’s get it done.