LOOKING AHEAD

Here's why J.J. Watt's future with the Houston Texans remains uncertain

Here's why J.J. Watt's future with the Houston Texans remains uncertain
Watt can't wait on a rebuild. Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images.
Even J.J. Watt can have a bad take from time to time

A few weeks ago, it appeared as if J.J. Watt had played his last game as a member of the Houston Texans. They had just suffered a 35-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers, resulting in the Texans falling to 1-6 on the season. With the trade deadline looming, a disgruntled Watt walked off the field inside NRG Stadium. The consensus around the league believed that the future Hall of Famer would be one of several players rumored to be on the move in a potential fire sale.

However, the Texans stood pat. Not only did Houston not trade their franchise star, but refused to explore the market by defining Watt as one of their four untouchable players.

Watt, arguably the greatest player in franchise history, will finish his ninth season playing on a team that appears to be heading straight towards a rebuild at the conclusion of the year. It's a path the 31-year-old defensive end says he has no interest in being a part of during the twilight of his career.

"I don't think it's any secret that I don't have 10 years left in this league," Watt said during his virtual press conference on Wednesday. "I personally believe that I do have a few more great ones left in me. But, you also can't — I'm not looking to rebuild. I'm looking to go after a championship and that's what I want to do. Whatever is in the best interest of the Houston Texans, that's in the best interest of myself. But, like I said, I'm interested in winning a championship in this league. That's every player's goal."

Watt has stated an infinite amount of times that bringing a Super Bowl title to Houston remains his ultimate goal. Deshaun Watson echoed the same objective nearly 20 minutes later via Zoom, but the Texans are far from title contention.

In a season that began with a four-game losing streak and the jettison of Bill O'Brien, the Texans will watch the 2020 post-season unfold from the comfort of their homes — more likely than not. With little draft capital and money extremely scarce, it is going to be a daunting task for Houston to address their lack of talent ahead of the 2021 season.

In reality, it may take the Texans two years to get back to playoff contention and another before they can reestablish themselves as Super Bowl contenders. That's an additional three more seasons wasted for Watt — who would be 34-years-old and on the brink of retirement.

Although the Texans retained his services past this year's trade deadline, the idea of Watt finishing his career draped in another team's jersey is still a high possibility. He has one year left on his current contract, and it is hard to imagine Watt still playing for the Texans beyond the 2021 season — especially if Houston has not made any improvements to their team.

A pending free-agency and a distressed star could alas be the formula for a significant breakup between Watt and the Texans as early as next spring.

"We've won some division championships and that's great, but that's not the goal. If your goal is not to win the Super Bowl and your goal is not to do everything in your power to make that happen and make your organization in the best possible situation for that, then that's not going to happen. So, that is my goal. That's why I fought back from all these injuries because that's the goal, and that's what I'm still working towards." — Watt.

Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.

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Braves beat Houston in extra innings, 5-4. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Marcell Ozuna hit his major league-leading eighth homer and Orlando Arcia’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

It completes a three-game sweep of the struggling Astros and is Atlanta’s fourth straight victory.

The Braves scored two runs in the eighth inning to tie it at 4-4. Michael Harris II started the 10th as the automatic runner on second and there was one out in the inning when Seth Martinez (1-1) intentionally walked Matt Olson.

Ozuna lined out to right field to send Harris to third base. Arcia then singled on a ground ball to left field to score Harris and put the Braves on top.

Pinch-runner Jake Meyers was on second when Kyle Tucker walked with no outs in the 10th. Meyers moved to third on a fly out by Yainer Diaz but Jeremy Peña grounded into a double play to end it.

A.J. Minter (3-1) got the last two outs of the ninth for the win and Raisel Iglesias earned his fifth save.

Reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. added his first homer of the season to help the Braves to the victory. Ozuna also leads the majors with 23 RBIs and he extended his hitting streak to 16 games, which ties his career best and is the longest active streak in the majors.

Yordan Alvarez and Mauricio Dubón both homered for the Astros, who fell to 6-14 and are last in the AL West.

There was one out in the first when Alvarez connected on his homer to the seats in left field to put Houston up 1-0.

Ozuna opened the second with his 432-foot shot to left field, which bounced off the wall and tied the game.

Acuña put the Braves up 2-1 when he sent the first pitch of the fifth inning to straightaway center field.

The Astros tied it on an RBI single by Alex Bregman in the fifth and Kyle Tucker’s RBI double came next to put the Astros up 3-2.

Dubón hit his first home run of the year off Jesse Chavez to start Houston’s sixth and push the lead to 4-2.

Harris singled to start the seventh before a ground-rule double by Austin Riley. Olson reached, and Harris scored on a fielding error by first baseman José Abreu when he couldn’t grab a routine ground ball.

There was one out in the inning when Riley scored on a sacrifice fly by Arcia to tie it at 4-all.

Houston starter J.P. France allowed four hits and two runs in five innings.

Max Fried gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings.

UP NEXT

Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a series against Texas on Friday night with LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 4.58 ERA) on the mound.

Astros: Houston is also off Thursday before ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night against Washington. The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

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