Whenever a high-profile veteran who is looking to win a Super Bowl has become available in recent years, they have naturally been connected to the Patriots and Bill Belichick.
This was the case Friday with J.J. Watt asking for his release from the Texans and the organization obliging.
But, this should serve as a reminder that things are different right now with the Patriots.
Watt will be 32 years old in March and given his injury history, his time in the league is closer to the end than the beginning. Being one of the greatest defensive players in the league and only winning two playoff games over the course of his career, never advancing past the divisional round, it’s obvious he will be looking to go a winning organization.
That isn’t the Patriots right now.
New England is coming off a 7-9 season with a number of holes to address. While it likely will be better in 2021, getting back to being one of the best teams in the AFC seems at least a few years away. If winning is Watt’s No. 1 priority, there are better options out there.
Teams that immediately come to mind are the Steelers and teaming up with his brother T.J., or going back to his home state of Wisconsin and joining the Packers.
Would Watt help the Patriots? Absolutely. Although not the same player he once was, he’s still a game-changer and Belichick is on record raving about the defensive end. But, it's not only up to them.
Watt does seem like a player who would love to play for Belichick, but it’s hard to imagine that being enough considering the interest he will get from other teams and the Patriots not being in a position to win right away.
While it’s easy to say the Patriots are a top destination for Watt, the reality is they aren’t because they are not the same organization they were three or so years ago.