October 2, 2023

Lane Johnson seems to be trying to recruit J.J. Watt after Texans release star


Photo by Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans released superstar defensive end J.J. Watt on Friday after the longtime franchise cornerstone requested his release. Yeah, you heard that correctly.

This is one of those moves where the whole league pauses and takes notice, and that includes players who would like their team to add a five-time All-Pro defender. Because who wouldn’t?

Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson took notice of the transaction on Friday morning, and it sounds like he wouldn’t mind playing with Watt in the future:

Classic Lane *shrugs*.

And when Watt’s brother and Steelers star defensive lineman T.J. Watt suggested Watt go play in Pittsburgh, Johnson fired right back at him:

Now, before we get too far, it’s important to note that Watt is not coming to Philadelphia. He will be in high demand, and he will make way too much money for the cash-strapped Eagles to make even a long-shot run at acquiring him. But that’s okay, because we all like to dream. Johnson has gone up against Watt in the past, and he’s also probably heard amazing stories of Watt’s talent from former Texan Brandon Brooks, who credited Watt with helping his game improve.

“Going against him every day, I think it’s made me a tremendously better player,” Brooks said. “Not only do you get a great player, but you get a great player with a motor that is virtually unmatched. There’s no reps that I can take off because I know he’s going 110 percent 110 percent of the time.”

And this is, in fact, an important offseason and ensuing year for the Eagles’ defensive ends and the future of that position. 

Brandon Graham reached a Pro Bowl this past season, but he isn’t getting younger and will eventually get old, because that’s how it works. And he isn’t Tom Brady, who seems to never grow up.

Derek Barnett is good, except when he’s taking late hit penalties or jumping offsides, and is entering the last year of his rookie deal. At just 24 years old, he’s a guy the Birds will probably want to extend sooner rather than later.

Josh Sweat had a great 2020 season but, like Barnett, is in the last year of his rookie deal. He might command more money than initially expected, but he’s productive and he’s not even 24 years old yet, which is exactly the kind of player the Eagles need.

Outside of those three, the team is extremely low on talent (or even bodies) at DE. And only two of those three guys have a real long-term future.

So, would Watt be a good addition to next year’s Eagles team? Actually, yes! And that’s not just because he’s a superstar who would be welcome anywhere. He would help shore up a position group that needs more talent in the coming seasons for the Eagles.

But… it’s not happening, no matter how many eyeball emojis Lane Johnson sends his way. Sorry about it.

But hey, it’s always good to dream!

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