The Houston Texans signed one of their key defensive players to an extension Thursday. Not it is not Jadeveon Clowney (but an extension for him should be coming soon), it is Benardrick McKinney. McKinney is an integral part of the Houston defense and made a name for himself in the absence of others. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the news Thursday evening.
This deal will keep McKinney in Houston for five more years. Considering that the deal averages out to $10 million per season, this is quite a steal for the Texans. Keeping quality defensive talent in Houston for the long haul will be crucial their success.
The three year pro had a breakout season in 2016, combining for 129 total tackles and five sacks. Building upon his successful sophomore campaign McKinney racked up 95 combined tackles and three sacks last season.
McKinney is just one of four productive linebackers for the Texans. The others being Zach Cunnningham and Whitney Mercilus in addition to the aforementioned Clowney. Clowney has been a star essentially since he entered the league. Mercilus worked his way into being a productive pass rusher. With 38.5 sacks in six seasons including 12 in 2015. As a rookie Cunningham made an impact almost immediately. Starting 13 games and amassing 82 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Keeping this core of linebackers together for as long as possible is a must for the Texans.
Which players must the Houston Texans sign to an extension?
That would be Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus. Clowney is in the final year of his deal and will make over $12 million this season. Locking up Clowney to a long term deal must be a priority for the Texans. If a new deal is not agreed upon prior to the seasons, this will be a saga that will not go away. Additionally coming to terms with Mercilus is also important. Mercilus has a potential out in his contract and the Texans have previously stated their intentions to extend his contact.
Resolving these contracts sooner rather than later is optimal for the Texans and their upcoming season. Houston cannot allow these potential distractions to impact their play on the field. When Houston is on the field they need to focused on one thing and one thing only. Winning football games.