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2021 NFL Free Agency: Texans Sign Outside Linebacker Jordan Jenkins

The Texans found an exit plan.

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

Dog brain Bill O’Brien extended Whitney Mercilus during week 16 of the 2019 NFL season to a four-year $54 million contract worth $18 million guaranteed at signing, and a $7.5 million signing bonus. Mercilus wasn’t especially good up to that point of the season either. His sacks were created by the interior pressure D.J. Reader and J.J. Watt created. Long and looping worked, but once Watt went down, long and looping became meaningless and empty. He had two sacks after Watt’s injury. Two chase down sacks of Jameis Winston in week 16. Last Mercilus was slow, sticky, and completely ineffective in both the pass and run game.

The Texans are now faced with an interesting dilemma with O’Brien in Alabama and Mercilus still on the roster. Mercilus has a cap hit of $12 million this season. If Houston released him his dead cap hit would be $15 million, and Houston would lose $3 million of salary cap space to a player not even on the roster.

Nick Caserio maybe on the phones trying to coerce a team with pass rush needs for Mercilus, but this isn’t going to happen. No one is going to give up anything for him. In a new 4-3 defense he’s out of place. If Mercilus stays it will be for sub pass rushing packages, where maybe Ross Blacklock and Maliek Collins could crater the pocket, or for leadership purposes. There isn’t a world where he can play up to his contract.

Houston may flat out release him though. Today they signed outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins to a two-year contract worth $6 million that could be worth up to $8 million.

The S-U-C-K SUCK-SUCK-SUCK defense has been frisky the last three seasons, something only sickos like me who watched twelve Jets game last year no about. Jenkins was part of their defensive ensemble. He’s a good run defender who can work his way into the occasional sack. Last season was a down year for him though. He played 42% of the Jets snaps and had 2 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, and 6 quarterback hits. A drop from his 2019 season when he had 8 sacks, 9 tackles for a loss, and 13 quarterback hits.

Jenkins is what a Mercilus exit plan would look like. If Houston flat out releases Mercilus, they would have a better player at the same position for a discount price. Keep your newsfeed drip dripping. This move could be imminent.