Pittsburgh Steelers: Will J.J. Watt Join His Brothers*?*Pouncey Brothers Retire Together
While one set of brothers could join forces in Pittsburgh, a Steelers legend retired alongside his twin.
J.J. Watt's release from the Houston Texans has kicked off rumors about the potential for him to join his two brothers – outside linebacker T.J. Watt and fullback Derek Watt – in Pittsburgh.
A pairing of T.J., who finished second in this year's NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting, and J.J., a three-time winner of the award, could be scary. The brothers have previously talked about playing together, and T.J. made his pitch immediately after J.J. announced his release Friday.
How realistic is a reunion? The Steelers already have major salary-cap issues, particularly with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"The problem is money," ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote. "Watt would assuredly have to take something close to a veteran minimum, which players of his caliber are rarely asked to do. The Steelers have a $27 million cap deficit and several big-money veterans. Pittsburgh, however, can move money around to make this work if it really wants him -- and if he wants to play with his brothers."
In other major Steelers news, longtime center Maurkice Pouncey announced his retirement together with his twin brother, Mike. Maurkice spent 11 seasons as Pittsburgh's starter, going to nine Pro Bowls. He has been a huge part of the Steelers' offensive attack and a security blanket forRoethlisberger.
This raises more questions about Roethlisberger's future in Pittsburgh.
"Maurkice Pouncey and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are close friends and often vowed to play as long as the other," ESPN’s Brooke Pryor wrote. "Each has a contract that runs through the 2021 season, though Roethlisberger has not announced his intentions for the upcoming season."
The loss "creates a leadership void" on the Steelers offense and means Pittsburgh will be looking for a new starter at the position for the first time in more than a decade.
Cincinnati: A 'Changing of the Guard May Be Coming'
The rumors around A.J. Green's potential departure from Cincinnati have been swirling for a long time, but it could go beyond the veteran wide receiver.
Former Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who was traded to Seattle midway through last season, said last week in an interview with CBS Sports Radio's Zach Gelb that veteran defensive tackle Geno Atkins could be cut as well.
"I just know they're committed to whatever their vision is," Dunlap said. "It's clear that I was not one of those pieces. It seems like A.J. and Geno's time is coming, too. I guess it's a changing of the guard."
Cutting Atkins would save the Bengals around $9.6 million after he signed a contract extension in 2018. Saying goodbye to both Atkins and Green, who have 15 Pro Bowls between them, would put the Bengals about $30 million under the projected salary cap. Green is a pending unrestricted free agent.
"If that happens, it will continue the Bengals' trend of parting ways with beloved veterans as the franchise transitions to try to build a winner in the Joe] Burrow era,” [wrote ESPN’s Ben Baby.
"Cincinnati drafted Dunlap and Atkins in 2010 with Green and former quarterback Andy Dalton arriving as members of the 2011 draft class. The foursome played a key role in Cincinnati's five straight playoff appearances from 2011-15."
Cleveland Browns: Amidst Trade Rumors, Odell Beckham Jr. Posts a Reminder
After star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury last season, the Browns offense kept chugging en route to the playoffs.
That has led to speculation and reports that Beckham could be traded this offseason. The latest comes from ESPN's Jeff Darlington, who tossed out the possibility of Beckham going to the Super Bowl-champion Buccaneers.
Some pundits have pondered whether the Browns were better without Beckham this season. Over the weekend, the rehabbing wide receiver sent his followers a reminder of his accomplishments.