J.J. Watt Told Kyler Murray He Signed with Cardinals Because He Believes in Him

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

J.J. Watt told reporters on Tuesday that one of the reasons he signed with the Arizona Cardinals was because of quarterback Kyler Murray. 

"I'm here because I believe in you," Watt said he told Murray via text. 

He also called him a "young, extremely talented quarterback" during his introductory press conference.

Watt, 31, signed a two-year, $31 million deal with the Cardinals that includes $23 million in guaranteed money. He posted 52 tackles (14 for loss), five sacks, 17 quarterback hits, an interception, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a touchdown in 2020, an excellent season for most players but somewhat below Watt's lofty standards. 

With 101 sacks in 128 games, Watt was the NFL's preeminent interior pass-rusher during his prime. But injuries have slowed him down somewhat, costing him 24 games from 2016-17 and eight games in 2019. 

Still, when healthy Watt remains a force. The pairing of Watt and Chandler Jones is a frightening prospect for opposing offenses. 

And Murray is more than a handful for opposing defenses. Watt praised the team's offense during his presser on Tuesday:

"The longer I looked at it, the more it just, signs kept pointing back down here. There's a lot of exciting things about what's happening down here in Arizona. I've always said you have to have a quarterback in this league to have a chance, and there's a young, extremely talented quarterback here who can do big things and is going from Year 2 to Year 3 and can take an even bigger jump to continue to grow and progress and be even better. Then you've got DeAndre Hopkins who's one of the best wide receivers in the league, I'm obviously very familiar with."

He also noted that his familiarity with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who was on the Texans' coaching staff in Watt's first three seasons, would make the transition to Arizona's scheme easier. 

"Vance runs a similar scheme to Wade, which is a scheme I'm very familiar with and very comfortable with and excited to play in," he told reporters. "You got guys like Chandler Jones and Budda Baker and guys all over that defense that are really young and exciting guys ready to get after it and ready to fly around and make some plays."