National NFL analysts praise Cardinals’ J.J. Watt signing
The Arizona Cardinals have landed themselves right in the center of the national sports conversations on Monday with the signing of three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
With a player of Watt’s stature comes that wave of analysis on one simple transaction by a sports team.
Arizona Sports had some national NFL analysts hop on to discuss the move and the signing was discussed elsewhere as well.
Here are some of those breakdowns:
Charles Davis, FOX NFL broadcaster
Davis joined Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta less than a half-hour after the news broke, so he hadn’t had much time to process the move.
What Davis spoke on during some of his time on the show was what Watt’s presence will mean.
“It’s not just him walking in and helping create it. When he walks in, everyone is excited,” he said. “Because remember now, J.J. Watt chose you. He chose to be with us and it is a really cool thing … He’ll be able to get right in there and mix it up with the fellas, right, go grab the wings after the workouts and these guys are going to be excited to be around him because J.J. Watt is a bonafide star.
“And there’s an aura that goes with him. And his work ethic is off the charts, so that means your work ethic better be off the charts. I think it’s a win all the way around, truthfully. I think for Arizona it’s huge.”
Keyshawn Johnson, ESPN NFL analyst
Now, it’s interesting that Davis went that route of Watt choosing Arizona. Because Johnson wanted to break down that same point with Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo. Johnson, however, was spotlighting the Cardinals offering Watt the biggest bag.
“I think it’s a good find, an interesting signing by J.J. considering that all you heard was that I want to be with a champion, I want to win, I want to be with a champion,” he said. “And then he goes and signs a two-year deal, $31 million dollars, $23 million of it guaranteed, to be with a team that could win nine games.”
To be fair, Johnson did go on to give Arizona props for showing that type of faith in Watt.
“What the Arizona Cardinals showed is we’re committed to you being with us. We want to dance with you,” he said. “The Buffalo Bills didn’t want to dance. The Green Bay Packers didn’t want to dance.”
Kurt Warner, NFL Network analyst
To keep this theme going of bouncing off the previous name, while Johnson was emphasizing the Cardinals giving Watt the big pay day, Warner sees a commitment to winning.
“When an organization is willing to go out and make moves to make you better, to bring you closer to a championship, to say, ‘Hey guys, we are in this to win it. That we’re not ever going to just stand pat. We are always going to push the envelope and see what we can do, even if J.J. plays two years here. Hey, let’s take this two-year window and let’s figure it out,'” he told Burns & Gambo.
“Go out to make the move for DeAndre Hopkins — those are the kinds of things that excite players that are a part of an organization and say, ‘I want to be here.’ Or if I’m somewhere else, ‘I want to go to Arizona because they’re trying to win.’
“And that to me is one of those things that this move says to all those guys in the locker room.”
Dan Orlovsky, ESPN NFL analyst
ESPN’s Orlovsky chose to look at the big picture of what this could mean for the Cardinals’ timeline and the potential moves that could be coming in the next few weeks.
“This is a huge signing and I don’t think it’s the last one,” he said on ESPN’s NFL Live. “I think Arizona is looking at this as a two-year window and make some moves. And this is the first of many moves to come for them because we have to remember they have that financial flexibility with Kyler (Murray) being young and on that rookie deal. J.J. Watt is still a capable player.
“He may not be NFL Defensive Player of the Year-caliber, but he’s still a guy that had 14 tackles for loss last year. That’s gonna help a defensive line. Seven batted balls, two forced fumbles.”
Bucky Brooks, NFL Network analyst
Brooks broke down the Watt signing with some tidbits about how Arizona could use the future Hall of Famer.
“It absolutely is a fit … Vance Joseph will take that and he is going to bring a lot of pressure,” he said. “The Cardinals are a top-5 blitz team. So they want to blitz so they can get more 1-on-1 matchups. J.J. Watt was the most double-teamed edge rusher last year.
“So now he gets more 1-on-1 opportunities. (If) you begin to focus on him, Chandler Jones gets 1-on-1 … If you’re the Cardinals in a division where you have good quarterback play, you have to knock the quarterback down. They now have added a piece that gives them that ability.”