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BREAKING NEWS: Texans Releasing Whitney Mercilus

Houston’s first round draft pick in 2012 will no longer play for the Texans.

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
Whitney Mercilus mercifully released.
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Via Aaron Wilson:

Mercifully, the Texans are releasing Whitney Mercilus and getting out from under one of the worst contracts in the NFL. This move should have never been necessary as the contract extension Bill O’Brien handed Mercilus back in 2019, for four (4) years for $54,000,000 with $28,500,000 guaranteed, was a joke from the beginning.

After seeing Jon Greenard over the past couple of weeks, the Texans finally decided it was time for a youth movement instead of giving Mercilus more wasted snaps. Restructuring Mercilus’ contract and pushing dead money into 2022 was dumb when it was done a few months ago, and it looks even dumber now.

Mercilus, a first round pick for the Texans in 2012, ends his Texans’ career with 357 tackles, 115 QB hits, 72 tackles for loss, and 57 sacks. After starting his career with a large number of garbage sacks, Mercilus broke out in 2015 with 12 sacks, and then added another 7.5 in 2016. After that, he was slowed due to injuries, and he simply stopped winning one-on-one matchups on a consistent basis.

After collecting 7.5 sacks in 2019 in one of the weirdest defensive seasons of all time, BOB saw it fit to hand Mercilus, who was heading into his age-30 season, one of the worst contracts I can remember. “Tough, smart, and dependable” were more important to BOB than anything else, and Mercilus knew how to get to the stadium, if you’re wondering how he got the contract.

In retrospect, this was a solid pick by Rick Smith in what was one of his best all-around drafts, though passing on Russell Wilson after Matt Schaub was Haynesworth’d turned out to be a mistake.

Mercilus should draw interest on the open market from teams looking for a rotational piece on third down. Keep him fresh, and he’ll be a poor man’s version of Justin Houston, which would be a good thing for his new employer.

EDIT: What Rivers said.