Earlier this week the Houston Texans and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus agreed to a four-year $26 million extension, keeping the 2012 first round pick on the roster for a few more years. Recently the team had declined to pick up the fifth year option on his rookie contract, and now news of the extension shows why the team made that choice.
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Mercilus was the 26th player taken in 2012 out of Illinois, and was expected to be a solid pass rusher for the Texans 3-4 defense. Instead, the linebacker has only put up marginal statistics thus far and is coming off a career low five sack season.
Although to be fair, his five sacks weren’t that far off his career high seaon of seven in 2013 or the six he put up in 2012 as a rookie. For those keeping score at home, that’s an average of six sacks per season.
As for overall tackles, the former Fighting Illini had a career high of 50 last season. For his career he has 122 tackles, or an average of 40.6 per season.
He also has never recorded a career interception, but had forced four fumbles during his tenure.
All that being said is a $24 million deal, which averages $6 million a year really worth it for a guy producing 40 tackles, six sacks and one forced fumble on average?
General manager Rick Smith and coach Bill O’Brien have been very financially prudent this offseason, but this move has me scratching my head. It feels to me that this money could be better allocated and the team could find a replacement for Mercilus at a fraction of what he will cost Houston.
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