CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Feb. 12, 2021.
The Cleveland Browns' pursuit of J.J. Watt has come to an end, with the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year taking to Twitter on Monday to announce that he's signing with the Arizona Cardinals.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Watt's contract with the Cardinals is for two years and worth $31 million, $23 million of which is guaranteed.
Watt's signing with Arizona brings an end to more than two weeks worth of speculation regarding his destination, which began when the Houston Texans granted his request for a release last month. In the time since, the five-time Pro Bowl selection has only fueled such conjecture with seemingly cryptic social media posts, and even had to shut down additional speculation that stemmed from the bio of a Peloton account that wasn't actually his.
Watt's decision to sign with the Cardinals comes as somewhat of a surprise as he had most consistently been linked to proven playoff contenders including the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Browns. While Arizona lays claim to a young, talented, roster that includes third-year quarterback Kyler Murray, the Cardinals haven't made the playoffs since the 2015 season.
But in addition to Watt's desire to play for a contender, the two-time sacks leader also reportedly wanted to be paid a salary in line with his Hall of Fame resume. According to OverTheCap.com, Arizona enters the offseason with more than $11 million in cap space.