Well, it was fun while it lasted, right? “Watt Watch” for Green Bay Packers fans comes to an end as the former three-time Defensive Player of the Year is signing with the Arizona Cardinals.
There were a lot of reports in recent weeks about what Watt desired in his next team, as well as who some of the front runners were—which reportedly included a dozen or so teams, with the Green Bay Packers supposedly being one of the top-3.
According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Watt’s top considerations for his new team included the quarterback position—the Packers easily check that box. The supporting cast—again, they check that box as well with Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, and Kenny Clark along the defensive front.
However, the one box that they didn’t check was in regards to the money. As is well known by now, the Green Bay Packers find themselves $11.4 million over the projected salary cap. And this doesn’t take into account the additional costs that will be needed to cover the draft class, the practice squad, any free agent signings, bonuses, or in-season spending.
So when the news broke that Arizona was signing Watt to a two-year deal worth $31 million with $23 million guaranteed, realistically, the Packers never had a chance in that price range. And at the point that Watt is at in his career, you can argue that they shouldn’t have been spending that kind of money either–especially considering their cap situation.
My guess is that the Packers did what they often do, and that’s stick to their valuation. They likely made an offer to Watt that they thought was fair, but they also weren’t going to overpay either.
Now, just because Green Bay didn’t land Watt, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be the opportunity for them to add a player or two in free agency still.
As Brian Gutekunst alluded to back in November, it’s going to be an unusual offseason with the shrunken salary cap. That could lead to some veteran players commanding less on the open market, thus leading to cheaper and shorter deals.
Ultimately with Watt, it came down to Arizona having more to spend as they found themselves $11.1 million on the right side of the salary cap prior to the signing.
Looking ahead, there is still plenty of work to do and tough decisions to be made by the Green Bay Packers as they have to be under the salary cap before free agency opens in a few weeks while still trying to address some key positional needs.