Chicago Bears: Pros and cons of signing J.J. Watt

Chicago Bears (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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Chicago Bears, J.J. Watt
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Chicago Bears signing J.J. Watt: The Cons

Who wouldn’t want a five-time Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro on their team? Although Watt is not a spring chicken any longer, he still has plenty of value to offer a team. This is even more true now that his price tag is no longer a trade plus $17.5 million dollars. This does not mean that signing to any team is a good idea though.

The price tag is still likely too high

This is pure speculation as J.J. Watt could easily take a very team-friendly deal to play wherever he wants to play. However, even at the age of 32, Watt will still bring plenty to the table in 2021. He will command a decent salary and with the Chicago Bears’ current salary cap situation, signing J.J. Watt is just not a priority.

I have a feeling that Watt will likely sign for a minimum of $8 million per year when he moves on. I know that’s a far cry from the $17.5 million he was scheduled to make, but it’s still more than the Chicago Bears should invest knowing they still have Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn under contract.

J.J. Watt’s recent injury history

Another reason the Chicago Bears should not look to sign J.J. Watt is that he is not likely to finish the 2021 season. Over the last five years, Watt has only played 16 games in two of those seasons. Over an 80-game span, Watt only played 48 of them. Watt has experienced a herniated disk (2016) and a season-ending knee injury (2017). He did bounce back in 2018 as he played all 16 games, finished with 16 sacks, 60 pressures and once again reached All-Pro status.

In 2019, Watt saw his season come to an end due to a pectoral injury. Then last year, he once again played in all 16 games. However, he saw his production drop drastically with only five sacks and 29 pressures.

J.J. Watt will be 32 years old in 2021

The Houston Texans were not good in 2020, and J.J. Watt was no exception. He too struggled despite playing 91% of the Texans’ defensive snaps. Has age and his injuries started to catch up to him?

The Chicago Bears are not afraid to bring in older veteran pass-rushers. The team did the same thing with Julius Peppers (30), Jared Allen (32) and more recently Robert Quinn (30). Peppers proved to be a great signing. Allen was just an okay signing, and as of now, Quinn looks to be a bad signing. Will Ryan Pace even consider adding yet another declining pass rusher to the mix? I would guess not before a focus on the offensive side of the ball. The defense needs more youth too.