Tagged in: reunite

J.J. Watt agrees to two-year contract with Arizona Cardinals

Free-agent pass-rusher J.J. Watt has agreed to a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, the team revealed Monday.

Terms were not disclosed, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the deal is worth $31 million and includes $23 million guaranteed.

“I’m excited to get started,” Watt said on the tarmac after the plane landed. “Very excited to get started, get to work, get to know the people of Arizona.”

Watt, 31, was released by the Houston Texans, who granted his request on Feb. 12, ending his 10-year run with the franchise.

Four days later, Watt’s former Texans teammate and current Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins posted a photo of himself and Watt photoshopped in a Cardinals uniform on Instagram with the caption: “Let’s finish what we started…” Hopkins reacted to Monday’s news by tweeting: “Life is good in Arizona!”

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Watt will reunite with Vance Joseph, the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, who was the Texans’ defensive backs coach during Watt’s first three campaigns in Houston.

In Arizona, Watt will be paired with fellow pass-rusher Chandler Jones, who leads the NFL in sacks since he was drafted in the first round in 2012 with 97. Second during that span is Watt with 95.5.

Watt’s addition meant minimal variations to the Cardinals’ odds for the 2021 season from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. Their odds to win the Super Bowl stays 40-1 and to win the NFC remain 20-1. Arizona’s odds to win the NFC West moved from 7-1 to 6-1, still the longest odds of the four teams in the division.

“The one thing I can promise you is I’m going to work my ass off every single day to make you proud,” Watt said. “Very proud to be a part of the ‘Bird Gang’ and the ‘Red Sea.'”

In 2020, Watt ranked 15th out of 119 qualified pass-rushers in pass rush win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He concluded the season with five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception he returned for a touchdown. He has been plagued with injuries recently, having played 16 games in a season only twice since 2015.

After the Texans drafted Watt with the No. 11 pick in 2011, he became the face of the franchise, winning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards from 2012 to ’15. Watt is one of three players to collect that award three times. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time first-team All-Pro, Watt was by far the most productive pass-rusher in Texans history with 101 career sacks.

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Patriots trade Rob Gronkowski to buccaneers for fourth round pick

The New England Patriots agreed to trade tight end Rob Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, the Buccaneers reported. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the news.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer stated that Gronkowski passed his physical with the team.

“Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season,” Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “He will honor his current contract at this time.”

Reports suggest that Gronkowski, who has one year left on his contract that will pay him $10 million this year, has been getting his body ready for a return to football, and that reuniting with Tom Brady was important.

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Gronkowski, 30, retired ahead of the 2019 campaign after eight seasons with New England. During his Patriots career, he was a three-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro selection. He caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 scores, establishing himself in his prime as the game’s best tight end and arguably the most talented player at the position in NFL history. 

Injuries were an issue for Gronk, however, as he missed 29 matches in his career and 13 games in his last three seasons alone. After posting double-digit touchdown receptions in five of his first six seasons, he had a total of 14 touchdowns between the 2016-18 campaigns. 

And now Gronkowski will be playing football with Brady in Tampa Bay next season. It’s great news for Bucs fans and more tough news for Patriots fans, who have seen the most important player in franchise history sign with a new team this offseason and one of the most popular figures in team history come out of retirement to join him.

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