There is No Need for the Steelers to Sign JJ Watt

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

As soon as JJ Watt announced the Texans would release him, I knew Steeler fans were going to jump to social media to make their case on why Watt should come to Pittsburgh. Yes, JJ’s two brothers TJ and Derek, play for the Steelers. It would obviously make a good story. However, there are a lot of factors that go into the case that this is not a good idea if you’re the Steelers besides JJ wanting to play with his two brothers. 

This column is not an attack on JJ Watt. He is a great player and a terrific person who has done nothing but bring positivity to the NFL and Houston’s community. After all, he is a Walter Payton Man of the Year, one of my favorite rewards in all of sports. 

First, the Steelers do not need any help on the Defensive Line. They already have Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Tyson Alualu. There is no point in getting another D-lineman. The defense also didn’t play as great in the playoffs and down the stretch. So, the Steelers Defense does need improvements. However, JJ is not that caliber player anymore that would fix the defense instantly. 

Second, the Steelers already have a salary cap issue. A team will pay JJ Watt a good amount of money even though he is 31 and is starting to get past his prime. There is no need to spend that much money on him when the Steelers are about $21 million over the cap, according to Draft Kings Nation. If Watt wanted to play with his two brothers, he would have to take a massive pay cut when he could get a fair amount of money from another team. 

Third, the team has more significant problems to fix. The Steelers need to focus more on the offense this offseason with evaluating what they want to do at quarterback. With the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey, Ben could be retiring soon. So, the Steelers need to decide how to handle the salary cap with maybe building around another quarterback eventually.

Finally, the Steelers’ window to win could close this season. I wish that were not the case, but the Steelers will be facing tough competition in the division with Baltimore and Cleveland not going anywhere. Cincinnati is going to be on the rise with Joe Burrow. JJ Watt would want to go to a team that can contend for a Super Bowl. The Steelers are just not that team right now unless they re-evaluate how they handle the locker room. They also need to figure out how to move forward from the Ben Roethlisberger era, which will happen soon.

I can understand it would be a cool story for Steeler fans and the NFL with three brothers playing for the same team. However, JJ Watt is getting up there in age, and Houston finished 4-12 last season. Well, that is more Bill O’Brien’s fault than the team. Nonetheless, the Steelers have more significant problems than getting JJ Watt; it would be a salary cap nightmare for a team that cannot afford it.