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J.J. Watt won’t be a Raider, former Texan signs with Arizona Cardinals

Pass rusher gets big money in Arizona

NFL: Player Headshots 2020
J.J. Watt
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Watt will be heading west after all — just not to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Watt announced on Monday that he has agreed to terms with the Arizona Cardinals.

Watt was connected to the Raiders last week by veteran NFL reporter John Clayton. It made sense that the Raiders would be interested in him as pass rush is their biggest need — plus Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden loves veteran stars.

But instead the former Houston Texan is settling in Arizona having signed a reported two-year deal for $31 million. There was no way the Raiders could have afforded that and still add other key pieces to the defense this offseason.

Frankly, it would have been silly if Las Vegas went that deep into owner Mark Davis’ pockets for Watt. He is near the end of his career. Yes, he would have looked good in the Silver and Black ... but not at that price.

There was talk that Watt was looking for a team with a good quarterback and a chance to win in 2021 before money. It’s difficult to argue that Arizona is currently in better shape at quarterback with Kyler Murray and that they have a better chance to win this season than Derek Carr and the Raiders. So, the Raiders probably lost out because of lack of cash.

And that’s OK.

There are plenty of other pass rushers available in free agency this year. This is not a crushing blow to the Raiders’ offseason plan.