Houston Texans: 5 Highest paid players for 2021 season

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 5
Houston Texans, Whitney Mercilus
Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Whitney Mercilus (Outside Linebacker): $10.5 million

To be honest, the Houston Texans needed more from their outside linebacker in 2020. In fact, it was not a season to remember for Mercilus because in 13 games played, he totaled just 11 solo tackles as an outside linebacker. Not only that, but Mercilus had just four sacks and one pass defensed in ’20 as well. It is easy to say the season could have gone better for the linebacker.

According to PFF, they graded Mercilus at 39.6 overall in 2020 (out of 100), with the linebacker playing a total of 614 snaps, including 330 pass rush snaps and 245 run defense snaps.

Comparing last season to the ’19 season of Mercilus, there was a decline in play, as that season he totaled 26 solo tackles and eight sacks with his PFF grade that season being 65.0 in 16 games played.

Much more will be needed from Mercilus in 2021 as he’s now the fourth highest paid player on the roster for the 2021 season. He didn’t live up to the large contract given to him by former general manager/head coach Bill O’Brien in ’20, but ’21 is a new season.

Mercilus is a player to watch to see if improvement on the field is made, especially when it comes to his overall sack numbers. The Texans will need him to be at his very best for the defense to be any better than they were a season ago.