PFF places Cardinals’ J.J. Watt in ‘declining forces’ tier of edge rushers

Jul 30, 2022, 11:00 AM
Arizona Cardinals' J.J. Watt participates during the team's NFL football practice, Monday, June 6, ...

Arizona Cardinals' J.J. Watt participates during the team's NFL football practice, Monday, June 6, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Arizona Cardinals made a splashy offseason signing with a big price tag a year ago, bringing in pass rusher J.J. Watt in a move that was unexpected by many around the Valley.

Watt only played in seven games at defensive end for Arizona in 2021 and recorded one sack, 16 tackles and one forced fumble.

Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson ranked every edge rusher in the NFL and saw Watt land at No. 25 overall and in the “declining forces” tier with six other players.

A lot rests on the shoulders of J.J. Watt, as the Cardinals let (Chandler) Jones leave this offseason and only really replaced him with developmental rookies in the middle rounds of the draft. Watt can still be very effective when healthy, but that becomes a larger caveat with each passing season.

PFF gave Watt a 79.0 overall grade with an 83.1 pass rush but 62.0 run defense.

The 33-year-old was also joined by Buffalo Bills’ Von Miller (No. 22) and Las Vegas Raiders’ Chandler Jones (No. 23) among other players with large contracts in that tier.

Watt has one year left on his deal that includes a $1 million incentive if he reaches 10 sacks before he becomes an unrestricted free agent again.

The Cardinals will look to make up for the loss of Jones’ pass rushing ability as a unit with Markus Golden, Zach Allen, Devon Kennard, Dennis Gardeck, as well rookies Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders.

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