Cardinals’ DE J.J. Watt announces retirement from football, which other NFL franchise did he play for?

One of the best defensive lineman of this generation Justin James Watt announces his retirement from football in a tweet last Tuesday. Cardinals will be his last team in his career after he signed for them in 2021. J.J. is considered as one of the most decorative player as he’s only the third player in NFL’s history to win the defensive player of the year award three times. Let’s look back into his career and see the other NFL franchise he has played for since making his NFL debut in 2011.

Houston Texans (2011–2020)

Watt was first drafted by the Texans in 2011 and started to catch eyes since the very beginning. Only players like John Miller, Chandler Jones and Cameron Jordan had more sacks than watt that season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Watt has 28 games with at least two sacks, five more than anybody else since 2011. Watt is also the Texans’ career sack leader with 101, nearly twice as many as the next closest player on the franchise’s career chart. He won his best defensive player awards in 2012,2014 and 2015.

In 2016, Watt underwent back surgery for a herniated disc. Although, he came back strongly and won the NFL man of the year in 2017. Throughout his career with the Texans, he had to battle through injuries almost every season. He played his final season for the Texans in 2020 before moving out to the Cardinals in 2021. Watt was also named in the all decade team of 2010’s, all because of his time at the Texans.

*J.J Watt after winning the defensive player of the year award in 2015

The Texans turned out to be his only franchise before joining the Cardinals.

On March 1, 2021, Watt signed a two-year, $28 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, with $23 million guaranteed. Watt stood out with his performance whenever he featured for the Cardinals. However, he had to be put into the Injury reserve after he injured himself in week 7. on September 28, 2022, Watt experienced atrial fibrillation just before week 4 which might be the reason why the Texans’ legend has decided to  retire at the end of this season.


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