Houston Texans and star defensive end JJ Watt decided to go their separate ways ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
Watt announced the news on social media on Friday. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year posted a video on Twitter in which he revealed that he asked the Texans to release him and that the organization granted him that.
“I have sat down with the McNair family, and I have asked them for my release, and we have mutually agreed to part ways at this time,” said Watt.
The Texans later confirmed Watt’s release and shared statements by team owner Janice McNair and CEO Cal McNair: “His commitment to the community is unlike any player in NFL history,” said Janice McNair.
“For now, we will build upon the foundation that JJ created here and forge ahead with our unwavering mission to bring a championship to our city, create memorable experiences for our fans, and do great things for Houston,” added Cal McNair.
Watt hinted that his time with the Texans might come to an end during the 2020 NFL season. At the time, he said that he isn’t interested in playing on a rebuilding team and wants to chase a Super Bowl ring.
Watt had one-year left on his deal but no guaranteed money, so he is now free to sign with any team in the league. The 31-year-old veteran immediately becomes one of the most, if not the most, prominent free agents in 2021, and there’s no doubt that there will be a bidding war to get him.
JJ Watt is widely considered to be the greatest player in Houston Texans history. In his first five years as a pro, he was selected as the NFL’s DPOY three times while breaking the 20 sacks-mark twice. He also went on to get five Pro Bowl nods and five All-Pro honors during his 10 seasons in Houston.
Watt currently holds the Texans franchise records for sacks (101), forced fumbles (22), and fumble recoveries (12).