When the Houston Texans released DE J.J. Watt in the middle of February, it looked like he was probably going to one of two teams: the Cleveland Brown or the Green Bay Packers, his childhood team.
On March 1, Watt shocked the NFL world when he revealed that he had signed with the Arizona Cardinals on a two-year, $31 million contract. The Cardinals weren’t even in the conversation of being a potential landing spot.
Watt will also be reunited with former Texans teammate WR DeAndre Hopkins
While Watt isn’t necessarily the prime version of himself anymore due to a lengthy injury history, that doesn’t mean he won’t improve the Cardinals’ competition levels. In fact, BetOnline has increased the team’s Super Bowl 56 odds after the Watt signing.
Before the Watt signing, the Cardinals were listed at +4000 to win the Super Bowl. They are now at +2800.
Updated Super Bowl 56 Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Monday, March 1
- Kansas City Chiefs +525
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers +650
- Green Bay Packers +1200
- Los Angeles Rams +1200
- Baltimore Ravens +1400
- Buffalo Bills +1400
- San Francisco 49ers +1600
- Cleveland Browns +2000
- Dallas Cowboys +2500
- Indianapolis Colts +2500
- New Orleans Saints +2500
- Seattle Seahawks +2500
- Arizona Cardinals +2800
- Los Angeles Chargers+2800
- Miami Dolphins +2800
- Pittsburgh Steelers +2800
- New England Patriots +3300
- Tennessee Titans +3300
- Carolina Panthers +5000
- Chicago Bears +5000
- Denver Broncos+5000
- Las Vegas Raiders +5000
- Minnesota Vikings +5000
- Philadelphia Eagles +5000
- Washington Football Team +5000
- Atlanta Falcons +6600
- New York Giants +6600
- Jacksonville Jaguars +8000
- New York Jets +8000
- Cincinnati Bengals +10000
- Detroit Lions +12500
- Houston Texans +15000
Cardinals Still Far From Favorites Signing
Make no mistake: Watt going to the Cardinals is huge news. While he may not be in his 2012-2015 form anymore, but he’ll still make an impact. However, the Cardinals were 8-8 last season and still have a ways to go before being Super Bowl contenders.
For starters, the NFC West is one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL and should continue to be so in 2021. The Seattle Seahawks were 12-6 last season and are usually contenders. The Los Angeles Rams already boasted one of the best defensive teams in football. Now, they’ve added QB Matthew Stafford to take their offense to the next level. While the San Francisco 49ers were 6-10 last season, they’re only one season removed from playing in Super Bowl 54.
Just by taking the NFC West into account, the Cardinals have a tough path to get to the Super Bowl. Their odds of winning the NFC West have moved from +500 to +450 on BetOnline after signing Watt. Unfortunately, those are the lowest odds in their division.
BetOnline’s odds of the Cardinals winning the NFC Championship moved from +2000 to +1400.
Watt Looking to Stay Healthy Again
When Watt was at the peak of his game in Houston, he was one of the best players in the NFL.
After not missing a regular season game in his first five years in the NFL, Watt has missed 32 in his last five seasons. Fortunately, he remained injury-free last season and hopes to continue to trend into 2021. In 16 games in 2020, Watt had 52 tackles and 5.0 sacks, plus 17 quarterback hits.
If Watt can maintain that style of play with the Cardinals, opposing teams’ quarterbacks could be in for a nightmare. The Cardinals already have LB Haason Reddick on the team, who was fourth in the NFL for sacks last season with 12.5. If Watt and Reddick can develop chemistry, perhaps the Cardinals’ Super Bowl odds can improve.