On Wednesday, Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt announced that he was retiring after 12 NFL seasons.
He said that he had known for a while that 2022 would be his final season, but he waited until this week to let the world know.
According to reports, the birth of his first child was one thing that ultimately tipped him in the direction of retirement.
Now that Watt belongs to the ages, the question is where he ranks among the greatest pass-rushers of all time.
Or to be more blunt, does he deserve to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Watt Has Had A Very Impressive Career That Stacks Up Well
When the Houston Texans took Watt with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, he wasn’t an instant star, as he had a modest 5.5 sacks during his rookie season.
But he blossomed in 2012, amassing a league-high 20.5 sacks and 39 tackles for loss, plus 43 quarterback hits and 16 passes defended, which earned him the Defensive Player of the Year award.
It was an award he would earn two more times in 2014 and 2015.
In 2014, he was even used as a receiver a few times, which resulted in three touchdowns that year for him.
JJ Watt’s 2014 DPOY season was so wild. The dude had 20.5 sacks, 29 tackles for a loss, and he scored these 5 TDs pic.twitter.com/XsAhbhRjUK
— Bussin’ With The Boys 🐺 (@BussinWTB) December 27, 2022
Watt quickly revitalized a dormant Texans franchise that hadn’t yet been to the playoffs when he entered the league.
Houston won 10 games in his rookie year and 12 the following year, as he teamed with star wide receiver Andre Johnson to make the team a semi-regular postseason participant.
Watt has had four seasons with at least 16 sacks, as well as five Pro Bowl and All-Pro First Team nods.
By comparison, the legendary Lawrence Taylor had just one season with at least 16 sacks, Reggie White also had four and Michael Strahan had just two.
All three have been enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
Perhaps Watt won’t be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but at some point in the not-too-distant future, he will certainly deserve to be bronzed alongside Taylor, White, Strahan and all the rest.