Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus is entering the final year of his contract extension.
Houston Texans 2012 first round draft selection, Whitney Mercilus will be entering his final season of the four-year deal he signed after his rookie scale contract expired. Mercilus has been rather productive in the role as one of the Texans pass rushers in their front seven. He has 42.5 career sacks through seven seasons and playing 99 games in the NFL. His sack total ranks him third in franchise history only behind J.J. Watt with 92 and Mario Williams with 53 sacks.
Mercilus has been one of the most productive pass rushers with Texans, but he encountered a down season from a statistical standpoint in 2018. Shifting in a different role in his sixth season in defensive coordinator’s Romeo Crennel defense, Mercilus was utilized more of an off-ball linebacker and was tasked with dropping back in coverage.
He finished with 39 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, five tackles for loss, and 14 quarterback hits in 2018. His four sacks are a career low with a season in which he played double-digit games within a season, Mercilus was stepping back onto the field after being shut down with a pectoral injury that he needed to undergo surgery in 2017.
Pending on Jadeveon Clowney’s contract status, Mercilus could be one of the pass rushers the Texans rely on as training camp rolls around in the month of July. Texans have Brennan Scarlett, Charles Omenihu, Davin Bellamy, Chris Landrum, Jamal Davis, and Jesse Aniebonam as the players on the depth chart competing for possible playing time throughout the preseason.
Mercilus has done the leg work to merit a second extension with the Texans, but it will be interesting to monitor if they decided to give him a new deal during the latter part of the summer. Texans have accustomed to not work on player’s deals during the NFL season, so the Texans could very well see themselves in a scenario in which they’d be working on a new deal with Mercilus hitting free agency as an unrestricted free agent if they decide to let him play out the 2019 season.