UPDATE (1:20 P.M. ET): The Arizona Cardinals confirmed their signing of J.J. Watt.
ORIGINAL STORY: The J.J. Watt free agency sweepstakes are over, and the Cardinals are the winners.
The star defensive lineman used Twitter on Monday to reveal he has chosen the Arizona Cardinals. Watt was released last month by the Houston Texans and since has been the subject of wild speculation.
Here’s how Watt made the announcement:
His deal with Arizona is worth $31 million ($23 million guaranteed) over two years, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. No word yet on whether the Cardinals were the highest bidders for Watt.
Watt’s decision comes as somewhat of a surprise. The Cardinals were not listed among the reported finalists for 31-year-old future Hall of Famer. The Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns were the teams most often mentioned as potential destinations for the 2011 first-round pick.
Nevertheless, Watt is a significant addition for a team many believe is on the rise. Watt has 298 sacks since 2011 — nobody else has more than 230.
The Cardinals last season got off to a hot start before finishing 8-8 while missing the NFL Playoffs. Arizona has not qualified for the postseason since 2015, when it lost to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game.