Houston Texans Roundup: Whitney Mercilus and his future

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 31: Whitney Mercilus attends SiriusXM at Super Bowl LIII Radio Row on January 31, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 31: Whitney Mercilus attends SiriusXM at Super Bowl LIII Radio Row on January 31, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM) /

The Houston Texans are making some important roster and salary cap decisions to make in the near future, but does that mean the Texans could be saying goodbye to a veteran of the defense?

Whitney Mercilus has been a member of the Houston Texans since being drafted in the first round — 26th overall — in the 2012 NFL Draft. In that time he has played in 99 career regular season games with the franchise and is a well-known member of their defense.

With that said, Mercilus has one final year left on his contract where he’ll earn $6.25 million this upcoming season at 29 years old, as Mercilus is a $7.3 million salary cap hit with $1.05 million in dead cap all according to Spotrac.com.

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Being one of the Texans’ outside linebackers, Mercilus played in all 16 games last season, but only made nine starts. He 2018 season numbers included two forced fumbles, four sacks, 39 total tackles, five tackles for loss and 14 QB hits. In the one playoff game during the Wild Card Round he had one pass defensed and one assisted tackle.

In the past two seasons, Mercilus has also dealt with injury as he played in just five games in ’17, so maybe last season was a year to get re-acclimated with a full-time NFL schedule once again.

This past season, Mercilus didn’t record his first sack until Week 7 and from Week 11-17 he recorded the rest of the sacks gained this past season, including a half sack in Week 17 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

John McClain of The Houston Chronicle was asked in a recent article if the Texans could trade Mercilus this offseason and his response was:

"“I don’t see them trading Mercilus.”"

This is interesting because being that it is a contract season Mercilus could have a big season ahead of him, but if his has a repeat of the ’18 season and the Texans could be left wanting for more. What are your thoughts?

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Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com recently wrote an article on the Texans wanting to bring back Tyrann Mathieu for the 2019 season as he is a free agent after playing one year with the franchise. Barshop quoted Texans head coach Bill O’Brien in the article:

"“There’s no doubt we would love to have Tyrann [Mathieu] back,” O’Brien said last week at the NFL scouting combine.”"

Besides signing and adding players to the offensive line, my belief is the Texans need to bring back Mathieu to the defense of the Texans for the 2019 season and beyond. Mathieu made a difference with the Texans defense last season, and that will continue in ’19 if he is back on the team.

Avery Jacobs of TexansWire.com of the USA Today wrote about three teams who he feels should trade with the Texans for Jadeveon Clowney this offseason, with one of those teams being the Oakland Raiders. Jacobs wrote in the article:

"“The Raiders by far is one of the worst ranked defenses in the league right now. They’ve only managed to total 13 sacks this season, which is beyond pitiful.”"

I don’t see the Texans trading Clowney to any team this offseason, unless it was for a big-time draft selection. It wouldn’t be the best decision to trade the outside linebacker/defensive end unless they knew 100-percent they weren’t going to be able to sign Clowney to a long-term deal.

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Some believe Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. or Julio Jones are the best wide receivers in the NFL, but for my money I believe DeAndre Hopkins is the best wide receiver in all of the NFL, and we probably haven’t even seen the best from him yet in his NFL career.

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