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NFL free agency: J.J. Watt switches conferences, joins intriguing NFC contender

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J.J. Watt lands in NFC, joins intriguing contender originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The fast and furious J.J. Watt free agency chase ended Monday afternoon, with the legendary pass rusher announcing on his own Twitter account that he’s signing with the Arizona Cardinals:

The deal is for two years and is worth $31 million, including $23 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Watt was reportedly also considering the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, and Tennessee Titans, but he’s now landed in the same conference as the Eagles.

(Not that the Eagles have Super Bowl expectations heading into 2021, but they didn’t have Super Bowl expectations heading into 2017, either, and we saw what happened that year.)

This marks the second straight offseason that one of the most high-profile free agents switched conferences and landed in the NFC. Last year it was Tom Brady leaving New England and landing in Tampa Bay, where he won a Super Bowl, because of course he did.

With Russell Wilson potentially on the move this offseason and the 49ers feeling a bit aimless just 13 months removed from a Super Bowl appearance, the NFC West feels like it could be a two-team race next year between the Cardinals and Matthew Stafford’s Los Angeles Rams.

Whether Watt will have a huge impact on the Cardinals, however, remains to be seen. Watt turns 32 this month, and is entering his 11th season in the league. He’s played all 16 games in just two of the last five seasons as he’s been bothered by injuries. Watt is averaging .55 sacks per game over his last five seasons, as opposed to .93 sacks per game in his first five seasons.

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