March 2, 2021

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What would a Dallas Cowboys J.J. Watt led defense…

4 min read
What would a Dallas Cowboys J.J. Watt led defense...


It was the 2011 NFL Draft and the Dallas Cowboys were on the clock holding the ninth pick in the draft. The Dallas Cowboys clearly wanted to upgrade their offensive line so the chatter was which tackle would they take.

They ended up going with the guy out of USC because of his young age. Tackle Tyron Smith was only 20 years old when they drafted him and with the news of Indianapolis Colts tackle Anthony Costanzo retirement, it was clearly the correct tackle choice.

Two picks later with the 11th pick, the Houston Texans selected rising star J.J. Watt who would eventually become a three-time NFL defensive player of the year. Watt is now circling the rumor mill about the future of his time in Houston.

Can the Dallas Cowboys house both players whose Hall of Fame careers are only missing a Super Bowl victory?

The Houston Texans are currently without their first and second-round picks due to a previous trade so their new general manager and head coach have their work cut out for them. Recouping those picks has to be priority number two after the Deshaun Watson debacle they are currently dealing with.

Lost in all of this drama is what to do with Watt. He is currently 31-years old which isn’t as old as some people perceive him to be. He has a non-guaranteed base salary of roughly $17.5 million this year. He will be a free agent after the 2021 season so if things don’t work out, a compensatory pick should be awarded depending on his next deal.

DeMarcus Lawrence is only three years younger than Watt so this old age adage that Watt carries is a bit out of context. He does have a lot of miles but this workout freak would do well rotating at multiple defensive fronts.

Now his two preferred landing spots are quite obvious. He would like to play for Green Bay because he played for and is from Wisconsin and the Pittsburgh Steelers whom his brothers both currently play for.

It still kinda hurts that the Dallas Cowboys were on the clock in two different drafts and both Watt defenders were available.

Could Mike McCarthy, the head coach J.J. Watt watched growing up, convince him that playing for the Dallas Cowboys would be his best bet for a championship? It’s difficult to know what players are thinking but this notion isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

The spotlight in Dallas would only help Watt’s brand although he is already a household name. His influence on this defense would probably be more influential than in most other potential landing spots.

Would J.J. Watt fit in a Dallas Cowboys 4-3 defense?

So J.J. Watt played in a 3-4 defense but the Houston Texans have mixed in 4-3 principles. He would be accustomed to playing inside so a 3 technique would not be out of the question. Having Watt lined up over a guard one on one sounds like a winning situation to me.

Watt also has enough pass-rush left to also play that LEO role new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn likes to place his players in. Watt split out wide for his pass rush would generate an insane amount of force that most offensive tackles would struggle with.

The most important aspect of bringing in Watt would be his lunch pail mentality and relentless motor. Watt comes in and works hard every single day. By the comments of some of Dallas’ lead defenders this past year, this is an attribute that is sorely lacking in big D.

That type of versatility has to at least intrigue the Dallas front office. How long has it been since the Dallas Cowboys had a defender that has the ability to completely dominate a game?

The Dallas Cowboys defense doesn’t have an identity other than being a sub-par defense. Watt would bring in a different type of player that vocal leadership on defense would push players to reach their full potential.

I can definitely envision Watt playing for Green Bay or Pittsburgh. If those two teams reciprocate their feelings, what is keeping the Cowboys from trying to improve their team like those perennial contenders?

If there ever was a time to overspend, the time is now. The new television deal is going to push the salary cap into the stratosphere so might as well get players that can help you win now. Once the salary cap rises, it is going to be easier to rebuild at the start of the influx rather than playing catch-up.

For those of you who are pointing to a Dak deal limiting any deals the Cowboys can do, I advise you to take a look at the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were dangerously close to going over the salary cap but were able to extend three top players and only added about $8 million dollars to their cap including quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ record deal.

I’m tired of preserving for the future. The time is now for the Dallas Cowboys to strike. They can change the narrative of their team if they roll the dice on Watt. Salary cap flexibility has gotten the team 25 years of mediocre play.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has often spoken of how embarrassing of a check he would write in order to taste Super Bowl glory again. Well, the time has come to collect on that statement. I hope Jerry Jones the ” wildcatter” returns and opens up his checkbook like old times.

What would a Dallas Cowboys J.J. Watt led defense look like?