4 options the Texans have with OLB Whitney Mercilus

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Mark Lane
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Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus is a good fit for the 3-4 defense, but the Houston Texans are switching to the Tampa-2 scheme with a 4-3 front under new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. As such, Mercilus may be out of position.

Furthermore, the former 2012 first-round pick from Illinois will be 31 years old on July 21. Mercilus isn’t exactly a young man by the NFL’s standards, and he probably won’t sniff a double-digit sack season as he did in 2015 when he collected 12.0.

What can the Texans do with Mercilus? Here are four options, according to Over The Cap.

1. Cut him before June 1

texans-whitney-mercilus-covid-19-reserve
texans-whitney-mercilus-covid-19-reserve

(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

If the Texans cut Mercilus before June 1, they will owe $15 million in dead money against the salary cap, a loss of $3 million in cap space. Consider it costs just $12 million to keep Mercilus on the roster.

2. Cut him after June 1

texans-extending-whitney-mercilus-inevitable
texans-extending-whitney-mercilus-inevitable

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans would lose $12 million in dead money against the salary cap. May as well keep him on the roster as there are no savings in letting him walk.

3. Trade him after June 1

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This one is a little tricky. The Texans would pay $1.5 million in dead money against the salary cap while saving $10.5 million. However, who is going to trade for Mercilus? It would take a desperate situation for a team to want to send a draft pick to Houston rather than sign someone or wait for cuts at the end of preseason.

4. Restructure

texans-whitney-mercilus-four-year-contract
texans-whitney-mercilus-four-year-contract

(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

If the Texans managed to do a full restructure of Mercilus' contract, they would save $6,283,333 million in salary cap space. Of course, from Mercilus' perspective, it takes away the security aspect of the remaining three years of his contract. However, it would be what the Texans needed to create more salary cap space.

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