Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Adam Schefter—J.J. Watt Out for the Season. How Does This Affect His Legacy?

By John Turney 
Via Twitter Adam Schefter is reporting that Cardinals defensive lineman J. J. Watt is out for the year due to a shoulder injury—

Here are his updated career stats—
Earlier this season Watt surpassed 100 run/pass stuffs, an exclusive Pro Football Journal stat that is a more reasonable stat that measures tackles behind the line of scrimmage other than sacks. That way one can add the stuffs plus sacks and in this case, Watt has 102 sacks and 105.5 stuffs for both for a total of 203.0 which is really stunning.

According to PFJ's Nick Webster's research only Bruce Smith, Deacon Jones, and Watt are part of the 100-100 club.

Watt is a five-time consensus All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowls/All-AFC pick and a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and other accolades like being a consistent member of the Top 100 club by the NFL Network. After the 2018 season, he was on his way to being the 3-4 defensive end G.O.A.T. or at challenging for it. He came back from two years of injuries with a 16-sack season with 7 forced fumbles to be right in line with his DPOY years. 
However, the last three years have not built his case being inured all three of them to various degrees and now totals eleven seasons and has been injury-free in six of them. While we may not be talking a Gale Sayers/Dwight Stephenson-type career but as of now he's got the same number of consensus All-Pros and Pro Bowls as both of them but he has played longer, but those extra years have not been all that productive.

It will be interesting if he can come back for the playoffs (we have zero idea) but we fully expect him to play in 2022 and beyond if healthy it might be a reach for him to ever regain his 2018 level of play again. 

He can still be effective, sure, but can he play 17 games? 15? Can he be a double-digit sacker and a 30-40 QB hit/pressure guy? We, again, do not know, but at 33, we'd take the under on both of those stats over the next few years, he has appears to have hit the age wall, the injury wall, and the production wall—three "alerts" if you will. 

So, unless he does that he will likely be a five-time All-Pro, five Pro Bowl guy (though making a Pro Bowl in the future is more likely than All-Pro) but he has a 100% chance of being a first-ballot HOFer but with his being injured five of the last six seasons he may have lost his chance to be on the Mt. Rushmore of defensive ends. A few years ago he seemed like a lock.

Now? Not so much. 


  1. Excellent overview. He earned his bust in Canton immediately after his second DPOY Award, and, no eligible player with 2 DPOY awards was NOT a 1st ballot guy. He then followed his second DPOY with a third. So in 2015 you have him in Canton on 1st ballot. The question was would he supplant Gino, Deacon, Reggie or Bruce on Mt Rushmore. Had he continued, I think there's a reasonable chance you'd knock off Gino or Bruce - based on your preference. Instead it's a sad "what could have been" type of career. However, an interesting comp is Dick Butkus, probably the highest peak MLB, but a very shortened career.

    1. Butkus, Sayers, Stephenson, yeah, those are reasonable comps but with 4 seasons playing half the games or less, hard to think of another like him, someone who was legit challening for Rushmore derailed by so many different injuries---not ust one knee blowout.

  2. If he comes back next year, is he willing to be just a situational player ? His starting days may be over ...

  3. He will be inducted with ease but he may not be a "Mount Rushmore" member unless it is the Mount Rushmore of Watts.