Presumably in an effort to free up more money to spend this offseason, the Texans have restructured the remaining three years of the four-year contract extension Whitney Mercilus got from the previous administration.
Whitney Mercilus restructured contract, creating $4M in salary-cap space in 2021, to become FA in 2022 with add of voidable years in 2022, 2023, makes $10.5M in 2021, gets $6M signing bonus, $4.5M base salary, New salary-cap figure 2021 is $8M down from $12M, per league source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 24, 2021
Whitney Mercilus gets paid $6 million roster bonus in 2021 rather than his origina $10.5 million base salary paid out over 34 or 35 weeks under CBA rules. Win-win as Mercilus still makes original $10.5 million and Texans get $4 million in salary-cap space to account for moves https://t.co/EpW1CedG0s— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 24, 2021
I think it’s fair to say that Mercilus could (would?) have easily been cut this offseason if not for the cap hit the Texans would have taken with such a release. This restructuring gives the Texans $4 million more to utilize in 2021 while simultaneously paying Mercilus more money up front and the right to hit the open market after the 2021 season for his trouble. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the Texans are free and clear of the effects of Mercilus’ ill-advised extension if he does in fact leave Houston after the upcoming season.
First, there’ll still be a dead cap hit of $7 million for Mercilus on the Texans’ books in 2022.
Mercilus now slated to become a free agent after the 2021 season, leaving $7 million dead money charge on the Texans' 2022 salary cap. https://t.co/Iluc182nFR— TexansCap (@TexansCap) March 24, 2021
Take the $6m converted, spread that out over 2021 and 2022 as pro-rated signing bonus, saving $4m in 2021. 2022/2023 contract years void (likely at the end of the 2021 league year). Remaining $7m pro-rated money in 2022 will remain on the team cap as dead money. https://t.co/kljUxXm5Vp— TexansCap (@TexansCap) March 24, 2021
And the voiding of the last two years on Mercilus’ contract will not operate to magically erase the fact that they were originally built into the contract, which means the formula that determines compensatory draft picks for the 2022 NFL Draft won’t factor in Mercilus’ exit if he signs elsewhere.
Because 2022 and 2023 were originally regular years on Whitney Mercilus's four year extension, converting them to void years will make him ineligible to become a compensatory free agent for the 2023 NFL Draft. https://t.co/DhuFXO9y5w— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) March 24, 2021
Reaction to the news, Texans fanatics?