The Green Bay Packers can offer most of what JJ Watt wants in his next team.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Watt’s checklist as a free agent includes the ability to compete for a Super Bowl and both a strong supporting cast and team culture – all the things the Packers have as points of achievement. actual sales by 2021.
The only question mark is money. And according to Cabot, Watt “wants to get paid for his market value,” which could really complicate the process for the Packers.
Everything else will probably be very attractive to Watt in Green Bay.
Compete to play in the Super Bowl? The Packers won 13 games and advanced to the NFC title game during each of the past two seasons. This is a team on the verge of the Super Bowl, and a player like Watt could be one of the final pieces to finally complete the journey. In fact, the Packers came out of 2020 as betting favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl next season.
Strong supporting cast? The Packers had six All-Pros and seven Pro Bowlers in 2020, including NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who led the number one scoring offense in football last season. On defense, Watt would have a chance to play lead All-Pro Za’Darius Smith and Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kenny Clark up front. Rashan Gary, the 12th overall pick in the 2019 draft, could be a legitimate candidate for the breakout as a full-time player in 2021. There is as much or more talent in Green Bay surrounding Watt’s position as any other team on which have played before. .
Team culture? Brian Gutekunst has built a solid locker room through smart player acquisitions, and Matt LaFleur establishes clear roles for people and guides a player-led team. The Packers have a rich winning history, with 10 trips to the playoffs in the past 12 years. The organization also has a strong leadership structure that revolves around Gutekunst, LaFleur, Russ Ball and Mark Murphy, creating real stability and the opportunity to win on a sustained basis.
Of course, money is a huge factor. A player of the stature of Watt in the game will not play for peanuts. If you really want to make about $ 17.5 million per season on your next contract. as Cabot suggests, the Packers probably can’t make it all work.
But while other teams, like the Browns, are in a much better financial position relative to the salary cap at the moment, the Packers certainly have the ability to complete a series of reasonable moves and free up the necessary cap space to make a offer. Again, the Packers probably won’t be able to compete with teams at the top of Watt’s price range. But Watt may play for less if all other factors line up correctly, as they most likely will in Green Bay.
If Watt wants a lot of money as a free agent, he will probably have to sacrifice elsewhere, be it the quality of the team or the cast or the culture of support. The Browns, for example, probably can’t match what the Packers have in terms of competitive readiness, overall talent level and winning culture. But if Watt wants everything else and is willing to sacrifice dollars, the Packers are a fit as well as anyone. The way Watt ranks his priorities – more specifically, where the money sits – may end up deciding whether or not he will play in Green Bay next season.