J.J. Watt spent Valentine’s Day in Chicago, but don’t expect him to finish his career here.
When the Texans defensive end was granted his release last week, he was linked to almost every relevant team in the NFL. Any Chicago connection, though, is more rooted in his personal life — wife Kealia plays soccer for the Red Stars — than scheme fit.
SportsBetting.com gave the Bears 10-1 odds of signing Watt, behind the Packers, Steelers, Cowboys, Rams and Raiders. The likelihood of him landing in Chicago is likely more remote than that, though.
The Bears will be in a salary-cap crunch and seem to be set on edge-rushers, particularly on passing downs. Khalil Mack has a $26.6 million cap hit in 2021, with $16 million of his contract already guaranteed this year. Fellow outside linebacker Robert Quinn has a $14.7 million cap hit in 2021, with his salary fully guaranteed. Akiem Hicks — who, unlike Watt, is an interior lineman — has a $12 million cap hit next year.
Watt posted photos on social media of his wife and the Chicago skyline over the weekend. When the Texans played the Bears this year, he wore her jersey at Soldier Field.
Watt wants to play for a Super Bowl this year. He has been linked to the Packers — he’s a Wisconsin native and former Badger — and to the Steelers, where his two brothers play.
Since leading the league with 17½ sacks in 2015, Watt has had one solid season — he had 16 sacks in 2018 — and three injury-riddled years. He had five sacks last year, playing in all 16 games.