CLEVELAND — Editor's note: Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry's press conference in the video above is from Jan. 20, 2021.
On Friday, the Houston Texans granted J.J. Watt's request to be released. And it didn't take the Cleveland Browns long to express interest in the star defensive end.
According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Browns were among a dozen teams to reach out to Watt following his release from the Texans. Other teams to reportedly have interest in signing the five-time Pro Bowl defensive end include the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.
While a lot can change in the coming weeks, it's worth noting that Cleveland currently has more cap space than any of those teams and the 10th most in the NFL, according to OverTheCap.com. While the Browns would likely prefer to sign Watt to a shorter-term deal, they also appear to be in the best position to sign the two-time sacks leader should money be a motivating factor in his free agency.
Of course, there will likely be other factors in play that help determine where Watt winds up, including the reality that he has not one, but two brothers who are currently members of the Steelers' roster. The presence of T.J. Watt and Derek Watt in Pittsburgh has helped make the Steelers the betting favorite to land J.J. Watt, who ranked seventh among edge defenders in 2020 according to Pro Football Focus.
With Olivier Vernon having suffered a torn Achilles and set to hit free agency, defensive end is undoubtedly one of the Browns' biggest needs entering the upcoming offseason. In Watt, they could find themselves with one of the best to ever play the position -- although they'll certainly have plenty of competition for his services.