Should the Texans trade JJ Watt?

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JJ Watt poses during a Texans game in a file photo. (KTRK)

JJ Watt has been an icon for the Houston Texans franchise for the last six years.

Watt has won three of the past five NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, including consecutive honors in 2014 and '15. He is the only player ever to have multiple seasons with 20 or more sacks.

The idea of trading Watt has been almost unthinkable since he was drafted 11th in the first round in 2011, but after a year of injuries the question is being asked.

Should the Texans trade JJ Watt?

Watt only played in the first three games of the 2016 season after he suffered a setback in returning too quickly from the back surgery for a herniated disc.

A second surgery was necessary to repair the damage. Watt announced during Super Bowl week that he was cleared to resume football activities.

However; the Texans defense didn't collapse during Watt's absence.

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was healthy for the first time since he was the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Surprisingly, the Texans gave up the fewest yards in the NFL last season.

Their strong defense carried their weak offense all the way to the divisional round of the playoffs. The Texans haven't ever been able to pass the divisional playoffs even with JJ Watt. There's only so much a powerful defense can do.

The question remains that if the Texans were to trade Watt, who would they trade for?

Many experts recommend Dallas Cowboys' veteran quarterback, Tony Romo.

The case for Tony Romo
The Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys both lost in the divisional round of the play-offs, but for the opposite reason. The Cowboys lacked a defense and the Texans lack an offense. Do these in-state rivals have the solution to the others problem? They could.

Romo lost his starting quarterback position last season after rookie Dak Prescott solidified his place as the Cowboys quarterback of the future while Romo was rehabbing from another injury.

Brock Osweiler has fallen short of the team's expectations and confirmed fans' worst fears that their team broke the bank with a $72 million contract for a quarterback that couldn't deliver. Romo could be the answer to fans' prayers if he stays healthy.

Watt's talent and leadership could propel the Cowboys to end their 22 year Super Bowl drought.

Other experts propose a trade for tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The case for Gronk
Gronk also missed some of the season due to back injury and subsequent surgery, but this trade could still benefit both teams. The case here is more monetary.

Gronkowski was reportedly unhappy with the six-year, $54 million extension he signed back in 2012. Gronkowski still has three years left on his deal with New England worth $24 million. However, Gronkowski is only scheduled to make $5 million in 2017, which would make this trade an almost even swap financially.

Watt has five years left on the six-year, $100 million contract extension he received before the 2014 season, which made him the NFL's highest-paid non-quarterback upon signing. He is scheduled to make a fully guaranteed $10.5 million next season.

The last option is to trade Watt for draft picks. The Texans have some serious rebuilding to do on offense and a few extra picks could go a long way.

One thing is known for certain. If the Texans do trade JJ Watt, Houston will lose a pillar of the community. Watt has donated money to a Woodlands High School football player who was injured, hosts an annual charity classic game, and more for the community.
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