Everyone is high on J.J. Watt, and down on Ben Roethlisberger, but should they be?
The Steelers should definitely sign J.J. Watt. Why? Oh, I don’t know, because it would be sexy, I guess.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are ways he can help Pittsburgh’s defense in 2021 without limiting the snap counts of Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and even Alex Highsmith, but the eldest Watt brother coming to town would just be exciting, wouldn’t it?
Let’s face it, Steelers fans and Pittsburgh sports fans just need something to get excited about. We need a “win.” We’re still in the middle of this pandemic. The Steelers really screwed the pooch down the stretch of the 2020 season by taking that 11-0 start and turning it into nothing. The Pirates are even more Piraty than ever. Heck, even the Penguins recently saw their general manager, Jim Rutherford, resign for reasons that didn’t have to do with his age—in other words, he was sick of working for the Penguins.
Watt would simply be delicious. Primanti Bros. would apparently change its name to Watt Bros. T.J. Watt and Derek Watt would have their older brother around to play with and to offer emotional support. J.J., being the philanthropist that he is, would get Pittsburgh to fall in love with him at first sight.
I get all of that, but what I don’t get is how J.J. Watt is any less washed up than quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the guy two out of every three Steelers fans are ready to see get on with his life’s work—if you believe in social media polls. All I ever read about is how poorly Roethlisberger performed over the latter portion of the 2020 campaign, his MVP-like play during the first 10 games or so being such a distant memory, it might as well have never happened.
The Steelers simply need to rid themselves of Roethlisberger and his $19 million salary cap hindrance and begin their future.
OK, but how would Old Man Watt factor into Pittsburgh’s future? He’s 31 and has had three of his past five seasons severely hampered by injuries. Yes, he did bounce back in 2018 and recorded 16 sacks for the Texans, but he’s posted a combined nine sacks over his last two seasons, including just five in 2020 while starting all 16 games.
So, really, what’s so appealing about J.J. Watt other than his name at his point?
At least with Roethlisberger, the Steelers could actually contend if he regains the form he played most of his bounce-back 2020 campaign with.
Would Watt be less expensive than Roethlisberger? Sure, but would he bring the Steelers great value for the price they would have to pay him? Furthermore, do they even need him? They have one hell of a front seven, even without Bud Dupree returning for another season. Watt would add to that, but would the difference be so great that we wouldn’t notice the deficiencies at quarterback?
I certainly don’t think so.
If the Steelers really move on from Roethlisberger, they certainly don’t need to bring in an aging Watt brother to contribute to a defense that would have to repeat its 2019 dominance just to sniff .500.
But J.J. Watt would probably get his own weekly TV show hosted by Bob Pompeani and Charlie Batch, so why not go for it?