Free agency, as J.J. Watt discovered this offseason, is wild.
The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year admitted as much in his introductory news conference with the Cardinals on Monday. Watt said he took great pains to make sure he controlled the narrative of his free agency, the first of his 10-year career.
“The whole process, like I said earlier, we kept it very quiet on our side,” Watt said. “Everything. From who was involved to what was involved, to everything. There was a lot of rumors and reports and everything. But for us, on our end, it was funny to sit back and watch it all kind of play out. Because we knew who was actually in it, how it all goes and everything. And we were just sitting there and staying quiet the whole time.”
When it came time for Watt to announce he would sign with the Cardinals, he took absolutely zero chances someone would leak the news before him. To that end, he had his brother’s high school friend order shirts for the four or five finalists and deliver it to him.
“This is kind of funny — it’s kind of stupid, too, but whatever,” Watt said. “I had shirts for each team ordered, just in case the situation arose. But we were trying to keep this so quiet that I didn’t trust whoever at the packaging facility would not see my name on the package and put two and two together.
“So I had my brother’s high school friend use his credit card and his address. And he shipped the shirts to his house and he brought them over to my house so that we could make this all happen. So shoutout to Doug and Joe for making this happen.”
And so, Watt got to break the news of his signing himself:
Here’s Watt’s retelling of the situation:
It’s unlikely Watt will have the opportunity to pull a similar stunt in the near future; Arizona signed him to a two-year, $31 million deal with $23 guaranteed.