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#pounditThursday, March 4, 2021

Football

Was money the biggest factor in JJ Watt signing with Cardinals?

JJ Watt

JJ Watt shocked the NFL world on Monday when he signed with the Arizona Cardinals, especially after it had been widely reported that he wanted to play for a surefire Super Bowl contender. In the end, it seems like he followed the money.

Watt signed a two-year, $31 million deal with the Cardinals that includes $23 million guaranteed. One report claimed he turned down more money from other teams to sign with Arizona, but that has since been refuted.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said Tuesday that the money Watt got was more than the other teams that wanted him were anticipating. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports was told that the $23 million guaranteed Watt is getting is closer to the total amount the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns offered.

That meshes with what Rapoport said, which is that teams anticipated Watt getting offers in the neighborhood of $12 million per year.

The Cardinals aren’t a bad team. They finished 8-8 last season and were inconsistent, but they have plenty of room to grow with Kyler Murray entering a pivotal third NFL season. That said, you could make the argument that Arizona is further from Super Bowl contention than almost all of the other teams that pursued Watt.

If you watched the emotional speech Watt gave (video here) following a Texans loss last season, you might get the impression that all he cares about is winning. His decision to sign with the Cardinals proves it is not quite that simple.

Kyle Van Noy surprisingly released by Dolphins

Kyle Van Noy

The Miami Dolphins seemed like they envisioned Kyle Van Noy as a cornerstone of their defense when they signed him to a big contract last year, but they are already moving on from the veteran linebacker.

Van Noy was informed by the Dolphins on Tuesday that he is being released, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

Van Noy played just one season of a four-year, $51 million contract he signed last offseason. The Dolphins paid him $30 million guaranteed, but releasing him frees up nearly $10 million in cap space.

The 29-year-old Van Noy played under Dolphins head coach Brian Flores when Flores was the defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, so the signing made a lot of sense for Miami. Van Noy played in 14 games for Miami last season and recorded 69 total tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles.

The Dolphins currently have about $22 million in salary cap space, so releasing Van Noy should bring them closer to $30 million. That will allow them more flexibility this offseason.

Attorney offers update on young girl injured in Britt Reid car crash

Britt Reid

The young girl who was hospitalized in critical care after being injured in a car crash involving former Kansas City Chiefs coach Britt Reid awoke from her coma recently, but she is still dealing with numerous health complications.

Tom Porto, the attorney for the family of 5-year-old Ariel Young, told “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that Ariel could have permanent brain damage. She has also been unable to walk.

“She’s awake, which is a huge development,” Porto said. “She likely has permanent brain damage that she will endure for the rest of her life. She’s not walking — it’s a sad, sad, sad story.”

Reid’s vehicle was on an entrance ramp not far from the Kansas City Chiefs’ facility on Feb. 4 when it struck two cars — one disabled vehicle that had run out of gas, and another that had come to help the other vehicle. He admitted to police that he had two or three drinks and had taken prescription Adderall.

Porto provided some photos of the damage to ABC that show the severity of the collision. You can see them in the video below:

Porto said Reid’s toxicology report has not come back, but he believes Reid should not have been driving. The attorney said he will be “advocating for the most serious charges and the most serious sentence that Britt could ever receive.”

Reid, 35, is no longer employed by the Chiefs. He is facing serious legal consequences. He did not travel to the Super Bowl with Kansas City after the crash, and his father Andy Reid shared some thoughts on the incident before the Chiefs’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Here’s hoping for better news about Ariel in the days ahead.

JJ Watt receives blessing to wear retired No. 99 with Cardinals

JJ Watt

JJ Watt has worn No. 99 since he was drafted in 2011 and in college at Wisconsin prior to that, but there has been some talk about him having to potentially chose a new number with the Arizona Cardinals. However, it sounds like Watt will be free to continue wearing it.

The Cardinals have retired No. 99 in honor of the legendary Marshall Goldberg, who played on offense and defense in two separate stints with the team. Goldberg, a four-time All-Pro, was a halfback and defensive back for the then-Chicago Cardinals from 1939-1943 and 1946-1948. He left the team in between to serve in World War II.

Goldberg died in 2006. His daughter, Ellen Goldberg Tullos, told TMZ this week that her father would be “honored” to have Watt wear No. 99 with the Cardinals.

“I think he would be happy to let him use his number and honored with that as well. … He has my blessing and I’m sure my father would be more than delighted for him to carry it on,” Tullos said.

Tullos said her father was “really honored” when the Cardinals retired his number, but he would also be happy to allow Watt to carry on the tradition.

“If J.J. Watt had the number 99 with him for a long time and it meant something to him, I think (my father would) be delighted to let him use the number and unretire it, or whatever the proper word would be,” she added.

Watt hasn’t mentioned if he will keep the same number, but he probably wasn’t overly concerned about it. One report gave us an idea of how badly Watt wanted to play for the Cardinals, so he would probably be fine with switching jersey numbers. Either way, it’s a nice gesture from Goldberg’s daughter.

Deshaun Watson sure seems to love spending time in Miami

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson sure seems to love spending time in Miami.

The Houston Texans quarterback was photographed hanging out at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The person pictured with Watson shared the photo on Instagram Sunday.

In February, Watson was dining with some Dolphins players at a Miami hotspot.

Watson has wanted a trade from the Texans since the season ended. The Dolphins are one of the teams Watson reportedly prefers as a trade destination, and they are listed among the favorites to get him. The problem for him is that the Texans appear to have no intent to let him go.

The 25-year-old quarterback has played four seasons in the NFL and passed for 33 touchdowns last season.

Trevor Lawrence posts photos showing his rehab from shoulder surgery

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence is making his way back from his shoulder surgery.

Lawrence posted photos on his Instagram account Monday night. The photos show him doing some physical therapy-type of work. He appears to even be doing some weight work.

Lawrence underwent a procedure on his left shoulder in the middle of February. He was expected to have a 5-6 month recovery timeline.

Lawrence threw for scouts at Clemson’s Pro Day prior to getting the shoulder surgery. His performance at the Pro Day went well and should cement his status as one of the likely top picks in April’s draft.

Lawrence played three years at Clemson and passed for 10,098 yards, 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for 18 scores.

Report: JJ Watt took less money to sign with Cardinals

JJ Watt

The Arizona Cardinals fought off a number of teams to land J.J. Watt, and apparently did it without offering the most money.

According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 Phoenix, Watt had offers from the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts that offered him more money than the two-year, $31 million deal he got from the Cardinals. The Tennessee Titans also had a similar offer on the table.

Interestingly, the reported runner-up in the Watt sweepstakes wasn’t one of the aforementioned teams either.

Watt’s decision to join the Cardinals surprised a lot of people. The revelation that he took less money to do it won’t address many of those questions. Maybe this recruiting pitch really did get Watt’s attention.

Report: 49ers asked Panthers about Teddy Bridgewater trade

Teddy Bridgewater

The San Francisco 49ers continue to say they’re committed to Jimmy Garoppolo as their quarterback, but reports indicate they’re acting a bit differently behind the scenes.

According to Joseph Person of The Athletic, the 49ers have spoken to the Carolina Panthers about a potential Teddy Bridgewater trade. The Panthers are not going to simply give Bridgewater away, at least as long as there is no other major acquisition on the roster that can play quarterback.

The Panthers would save $13 million against the cap by trading Bridgewater, and that figure could rise to $18 million if a deal happens after June 1. That means the Panthers can afford to be patient until they find an upgrade and safely move Bridgewater, which they appear to be trying to do.

As for the 49ers, it’s not entirely clear what they’d see Bridgewater’s role as. The team has publicly stood steadfastly behind Garoppolo, and it’s hard to see Bridgewater representing a clear upgrade over the current quarterback. Barring a contract adjustment, Bridgewater would be an overwhelmingly expensive backup, as he carries a cap hit of nearly $23 million in 2021. It could be that the Niners are simply assessing the market.

TY Hilton seems to signal he will be leaving Colts in free agency

TY Hilton

TY Hilton seemed to signal on Twitter Monday that he will be leaving the Indianapolis Colts in free agency.

Hilton tweeted a GIF of himself dancing and said he would be “ready to work” not matter where he goes or whom he picks.

There wasn’t a lot to his tweet, but those also don’t seem to be the words of a man returning. If he were going to be returning to the Colts, he probably wouldn’t talk about where he is going and whom he is going to pick.

This really has been expected anyway.

Colts head coach Frank Reich said recently that they would hope to have Hilton back, but he recognizes that might not be possible.

In other words, they know Hilton will be desired in free agency, and they probably won’t be able to afford him.

Hilton has five 1,000-yard seasons in his career and had 56 catches for 762 and five touchdowns last season. The 31-year-old said last year that he was hoping to return to the Colts.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC-BY 4.0

Josh McCown likely to join Texans coaching staff after release?

Josh McCown

The Houston Texans released quarterback Josh McCown on Monday. That will likely spell the end of his NFL career, but could mark the start of his coaching journey.

Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk suggests that McCown could take on an assistant coaching role with Houston in 2021. The quarterback has long been viewed as a future NFL coach, having been praised for his mentoring skills and experience.

Smith adds that McCown is “likely to have some role with the team,” even if it is not as a full-time coach. He notes that the team facility is only about 90 minutes from the McCown family home, making it plausible that McCown could stay around the team even without a full-time role.

The Texans liked McCown enough to let him interview for their head coaching job. In fact, there was some chatter that the eventual hire is just keeping the seat warm for the former quarterback. If he joins the staff, especially in a full-time role, those rumors will intensify.