Texans agree to grant J.J. Watt his release from team
HOUSTON - NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Texans are releasing the star defensive lineman, marking the end of an era.
According to ESPN, The Houston Texans have parted ways with J.J. Watt after he asked for his release.
Houston, I wanted you to hear this directly from me... pic.twitter.com/YqT3P6Lb6l— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 12, 2021
"I have sat down with the McNair family and I have asked them for my release and we have mutually agreed to part ways at this time," Watt said in a video posted to Twitter.
Watt was drafted by the Texans in 2011 with the No. 11 pick and went on to win three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards from 2012-15.
As one of only three players to win that award three times, Watt has just completed his second 16-game season since 2015 and he's sustained several season-ending injuries since then.
In 2020, Watt ranked 15th out of 119 qualified pass rushers in Pass Rush Win Rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He finished the season with five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception he returned for a touchdown, ESPN reports.
The celebrated defensive end for the Houston Texans is by far the most productive pass rusher in Texans history, with 101 career sacks. ESPN notes that there have only been two players in team history with more than 30 career sacks (Whitney Mercilus with 54 and Mario Williams with 53) since the franchise's first season in 2002.
During the season, Watt said he had no interest in playing for a team going through a "rebuild."
"I don't think it's any secret that I don't have 10 years left in this league," Watt said in November. "I personally believe that I do have a few more great ones left in me. But you also can't ... I'm not looking to rebuild. I'm looking to go after a championship, and that's what I want to do."
ESPN reports that when asked at the end of the season whether he felt the 2021 Texans would be in rebuilding-mode, Watt said there are "so many unknown factors to that situation right now that you can't definitively say that."
Watt had one year left on the contract he signed in 2014. He was owed $17.5 million in 2021, but his salary was not guaranteed.
According to ESPN, the star NFL player is now free to sign with another team.