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What does J.J. Watt signing with the Cardinals mean for the Buccaneers?

How Watt’s impact in Arizona might be felt in Tampa

Photo: @JJWatt (Twitter)

For a moment there were some who thought about the idea of J.J. Watt joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once the talented edge defender was granted his release from the Houston Texans. Instead, he’ll be joining the Arizona Cardinals and former teammate DeAndre Hopkins. It’s not a throw-away moment however. Every move has a corresponding move to go with it, and those can reach well beyond the boundaries of the franchises at the top of the headlines.

So what does this mean for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Well, for starters, a super-talented veteran pass rusher is now off the market. If Shaquil Barrett leaves for greener pastures, then there’s one fewer options for the team to replace his production over the past two seasons.

Since the Bucs and Cardinals don’t play in the 2021 regular season, there’s no impact there. But, the Carolina Panthers do have to travel to Arizona next season, meaning there will be a week at least fans of Tampa Bay could be pulling for Watt’s squad to pull out a victory over an NFC South rival.

Of course, timing of the match-up and potential playoff implications - if the game is late in the season - could flip this on it’s head and have Bucs fans pulling for the Panthers instead.

Another layer of this is the future of Deshaun Watson. Now, Watson hasn’t been connected in trade rumors to the Cardinals, but this move by Watt all but guarantees the Texans wouldn’t trade their franchise quarterback to the Arizona desert. Right?

Kliff Kingsbury already has Hopkins, and now Watt. The Texans would be practically forcing a huge chunk of their fan following towards becoming Arizona fans if they send Watson there as well. Plus, didn’t Kingsbury take the Cardinals gig to draft Kyler Murray?

So, if Arizona is flatly off the board, it means the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers still live on as potential landing spots. Not so much an impact of Watt going to the Cardinals, more of a no-change situation, but one big enough it’s worth mentioning.

Finally, there’s the roster impact Watt’s arrival will have on their own pending free-agents.

For the record, Watt got more from Arizona than I expected he’d get anywhere. The guarantees are unclear at the time of this writing, as is the bonus distribution, so we don’t know the hard hit on the 2021 salary cap. Any cap hit is a significant one in a year like this though, so it’s safe to say cornerback Patrick Peterson and linebacker Haason Reddick are both one step closer to being out the door in Arizona.

We talked earlier this off-season about both players and their potential fits with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While their increased potential for becoming available in the new league year doesn’t book their press conferences, it does add some interesting options for the team consider should they look to add talent at their positions.

Poll

What do you think of J.J. Watt signing with the Arizona Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Perfect Fit
    (41 votes)
  • 30%
    Interesting. We’ll see how it goes.
    (288 votes)
  • 20%
    Meh
    (191 votes)
  • 15%
    Confused, but intrigued.
    (141 votes)
  • 9%
    Lolololololololol
    (88 votes)
  • 20%
    Couldn’t care less
    (191 votes)
940 votes total Vote Now