Whitney Mercilus will be in line for a bigger role with the Houston Texans with the departure of Jadeveon Clowney.
The Houston Texans have finally parted ways with three-time Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney, as they sent him to the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend. A possible factor that contributed to the front office’s determination to part ways with Clowney was the fact that they have another edge rusher in the fold with Whitney Mercilus.
Sure, there were many issues that contributed to the deterioration of a relationship between Clowney and the Texans, but the reality is Mercilus made the front office feel rather comfortable moving forward without the former first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Mercilus entering the final year of his previous contract extension and will be looking to prove he deserves a bigger payday. He will be the opportunity to get a new deal with Clowney no longer on the roster. Mercilus had 37.5 sacks over the course of his first 5 years and will need to show he can return to the player capable of getting to opposing quarterbacks.
Although last season was a down year for Mercilus as a pass rusher since he was tasked in dropping back in coverage often; he actually had 14 quarterback hits, which isn’t too far off from the 15 hits he averaged during his peak. However, in his reduced role for the Texans, Mercilus tied his career-high in forced fumbles last season with two while racking up 4.0 sacks despite starting in his third-fewest games in a season.
Either way, Mercilus would seem to have his old role back since newcomers Barkeveous Mingo and Jacob Martin has less time in the system that Romeo Crennel installed as the defensive coordinator in 2014.
Texans will need Mercilus to return to the 12 sack version of himself in order for the Texans defense to not have any type of drop off.