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J.J. Watt agrees to 2-year contract with Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have made their first big splash of the 2021 offseason, signing three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to a two-year $31 million contract with $23 million guaranteed.

From the team.

The Arizona Cardinals Football Club today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defensive lineman J.J. Watt on a two-year contract. In accordance with club policy, terms were not disclosed.

The 31-year old Watt (6-5, 288) is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, ’14-15), five-time Pro Bowl selection (2012-15, ’18) and five-time first-team All-Pro designee (2012-15, ’18).

Watt started all 128 games he appeared in the past 10 years after entering the league as Houston’s first-round selection (11th overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin. In 2017, the Pewaukee, WI native was selected as both the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and the Sports Illustrated Person of the Year.

Below are some of the key highlights from Watt’s NFL career:

· His three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards are tied with Rams DT Aaron Donald and Giants LB Lawrence Taylor for the most in NFL history.

· He has recorded 101.0 sacks, 25 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries, 282 quarterback hits, 172 tackles for loss, 531 tackles (409 solo), two interceptions, and 26 multi-sack games in his career.

· Watt led the NFL in sacks with 20.5 in 2012 and 17.5 in 2015 and finished second in the league with 20.5 in 2014 and 16.0 in 2018.

· He is the only player in NFL history to have multiple seasons of 20.0 or more sacks (2012, ’14) and joins Hall of Famer Reggie White as the only players in NFL history to post three or more seasons with at least 17.5 sacks (2012, ’14-15). Watt ranks second in NFL history in sacks per game (0.79), trailing only White (0.85). His four seasons with at least 15.0 sacks are second all-time behind just White (five).

· His 101.0 career sacks are the most in Texans franchise history and the second-most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2011 (Von Miller, 106.0 in 135 games). Only six players in NFL history had more sacks in their first 128 career games: Reggie White (130.5), Bruce Smith (111.5), DeMarcus Ware (111.0), Jared Allen (106.0), Lawrence Taylor (102.0) and Von Miller (102.0).

· Watt’s 172 tackles for loss, 282 quarterback hits, 16 fumble recoveries, 47 games with multiple tackles for loss and 26 multi-sack games lead the NFL since he entered the league in 2011.

· Last season while starting all 16 games for the seventh time in 10 seasons, Watt became just the fourth player in NFL history to record at least 100.0 career sacks in his first 120 games (Reggie White, Bruce Smith, DeMarcus Ware) and the 35th player in NFL history to reach 100.0 career sacks overall.

· Dating back to his rookie season of 2011, Watt’s 21 career games with both a sack and forced fumble trail only new Cardinals teammate Chandler Jones (24) for the most in the NFL.

· His six AFC Defensive Player of the Month awards are tied for the most by any defensive player in NFL history (Bruce Smith) while his seven AFC Defensive Player of the Week awards are tied (Aaron Donald) for the most among any active player in the league.

Watt reunites with Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph who was on the Houston staff as defensive backs coach from 2011-13 and All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins who was his Texans teammate for seven seasons from 2013-19.