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JJ Watt Salary & Career NFL Earnings Breakdown

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Boardroom breaks down the earnings and salary history for JJ Watt, who announced he’d retire at the end of his 12th NFL season.

JJ Watt is one of the best NFL players of his generation at any position, which is why the 33-year-old announcing his retirement from football on Tuesday at the end of the season was such seismic news. The 6-foot-5 defensive end dominated for a dozen seasons with an unheard-of combination of brute force, silky speed, and unreal agility that almost looked like a glitch when you watched the Wisconsin native perform.

In 10 years with the Houston Texans and two with the Arizona Cardinals, Watt won three Defensive Player of the Year awards — tied with Lawrence Taylor and Aaron Donald for the most all-time — five All-Pro first-team selections, five Pro Bowl nods, and the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his tireless efforts in community service that he takes nearly as seriously as his on-field performance. He even finished second in the 2014 MVP voting, the first defensive player to finish in the top three since Minnesota’s Keith Millard finished third in 1989, the year Watt was born.

That got us thinking — how much money in NFL salary earnings does one of the greatest players of his generation have in the bank after an all-time great career?

You have J.J. Watt salary questions, Boardroom has answers.

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JJ Watt Salary & Contract Breakdown

All contract and salary info is via Spotrac unless otherwise noted.

Watt NFL Earnings Overview

NFL seasons: 12
Career base salary: $87,783,770
Career signing bonuses: $28,672,728
Other bonuses/incentives: $12,991,502
Average annual value (AAV): $10,787,333


Watt Salary Earnings by Contract

Contract No. 1 (2011-15): 4 years, $11,237,498

  • Signing bonus: $$6,672,728
  • Guaranteed money: $$11,237,498
  • AAV: $2,809,374

Contract No. 2 (2014-21): 6 years, $100,005,425

  • Signing bonus: $10,000,000
  • Guaranteed money: $51,876,000
  • AAV: $16,667,570

Contract No. 3 (2021): 2 years, $28,000,000

  • Signing bonus: $12,000,000
  • Guaranteed money: $23,000,000
  • AAV: $14,000,000
Watt Career NFL Earnings by Team

Houston Texans: 10 years, $100,748,000

  • Base salary: $74,033,770
  • Signing bonuses: $26,672,728
  • AAV: $10,074,800

Arizona Cardinals: 2 years, $28,000,000

  • Base salary: $13,750,000
  • Signing bonuses: $12,250,000
  • AAV: $14,000,000

JJ Watt Stats & Accolades

Pro Bowls: 5 (2012-2015, 2018)
All-Pro First Teams: 5 (2012-2015, 2018)
Defensive Player of the Year:(2012, 2014, 2015)
NFL sacks leader:(2012, 2015)

Total tackles: 580
Sacks: 111.5
Forced fumbles: 27

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About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.