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NFC West Odds: JJ Watt improves the Cardinals' chances

JJ Watt left the Houston Texans and has improved the Arizona Cardinals
JJ Watt left the Houston Texans and has improved the Arizona Cardinals
By Zachary Rainey

Over the course of his career, J.J. Watt has had plenty of experience shocking us.

Whether it be with his play on the field, which has won him the Defensive Player of the Year award on three different occasions, or even his incredible selflessness while raising $41.6 million in relief for people impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

But in the early afternoon of March 1, Watt shocked the NFL world once again by signing a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals.

Watt’s signing was much anticipated around the league, but until Monday, there had been no signs that he was anywhere close to making a decision, especially after his humorous tweet on February 21, “I scroll through door dash for like an hour before I pick a restaurant man… You’re gonna have to give me a second to choose a new team and city.”

Apparently, Watt decided on some fancy southwestern cuisine, and he’ll be able to order as much as his heart desires, as the deal is for $31 million, with $23 million guaranteed.

The Cardinals were quite the long shot to land the superstar pass rusher, as they were tied for the ninth-best odds at DraftKings Sportsbook at +1600, the same as the New York Jets as of February 12 and behind teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.

With the signing, the Cardinals are now best priced +400 to win the Super Bowl at various Sportsbooks and +1000 to win the NFC South. 

Super Bowl Odds

Since 2011, Watt ranks second in the NFL in sacks, and ranks atop the NFL in quarterback hits and tackles for loss, and is tied for fourth in forced fumbles.

There are some interesting ripples that come out of Watt’s decision Monday. Seattle Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson has been in the headlines ever since voicing his frustrations about being hit too much.

Those worries are even more valid after Watt’s signing today, as he will now likely line up opposite of Chandler Jones, who, with the exception of his injury-shortened 2020 season, averaged 15 sacks a season since 2016. In his absence, fourth-year linebacker Haason Reddick made the transition from inside to outside linebacker and thrived with 12.5 sacks.

It seems that the Cardinals are taking one from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ style of team building after seeing exactly what a lethal pass rush can do for a team, and with quarterbacks like Wilson and newcomer Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams within the division, getting after the quarterback will be more prevalent in the NFC West than in years past. 

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