Texans' J.J. Watt focused on proving 'my worth,' not an extension


HOUSTON -- Coming off an injury-plagued portion of his career, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt isn't seeking a contract extension this offseason.

Despite having two years with no guaranteed money left on his contract, Watt is instead focused on "trying to prove my worth."

"No, I don't think that's necessary," Watt said in a Zoom news conference Wednesday. "I think that -- I fully understand and respect the situation that I'm in at the moment and what's happened in the past few years, so I'm not gonna sit here and demand anything. Because I'm going out there to prove what I'm worth, and I believe that's the right situation for everybody.

"I think if I went back and asked for an extension, more money, anything right now, I think that would be the wrong move. And so I'm just going out there and trying to prove my worth and to help this team win games, do everything that I can to earn and make sure that these people know that I'm worth it."

Since he signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension that is set to expire after the 2021 season, Watt has won two of his three Defensive Player of the Year awards, and he made a strong case for another in 2018 when he finished second in the NFL with 16 sacks. But Watt has also missed 2½ seasons because of injury, including missing eight regular-season games in 2019 with a torn pectoral muscle before returning for Houston's two playoff games.

Watt played at a high level before his injury last season. He had just four sacks in the 2019 regular season, but ESPN's pass rush win rate powered by NFL Next Gen Stats shows the impact Watt had on the field. Watt created the first pressure on 62 pass rushes, easily the most in the NFL. No other player had more than 49 first pressures created when he tore his pectoral muscle in Week 8.

Watt is owed $15.5 million in 2020 and $17.5 million in 2021.

Watt said his goal for the season, as it is every season, is to "help the team win," which means staying healthy. He said he feels "good" right now.

When Watt was asked Wednesday if he wanted to finish his career in Houston, he said, "That would obviously be a goal of mine."

"This city has been incredible to me since the day I got here," Watt said. "I'm very thankful and fortunate to have the opportunity to play for such great fans who have supported not only myself, but my foundation and everything that I've tried to accomplish. It's a great place.

"I certainly hope that's the case. I mean, I don't know what's going to happen. I can't say what's going to happen in the future, but I certainly hope that that's the case."