With J.J. Watt no longer a member of the Houston Texans, Whitney Mercilus is now the longest-tenured player with the organization. But with the Texans on the verge of a rebuild, the 2021 season could be Mercilus’ final year in Houston.
Nevertheless the Texans aim to get the most out of Mercilus on the edge.
“Whitney has proven in his time in the NFL that he can win on the outside,” defensive coordinator Lovie Smith told reporters on June 8. “He’s in good shape right now. He’s going to play lighter than he played last year. That body type has had success in our system. We talked about a lot of the young players, but to have an older player that’s done it the right way and has been a great Texan, so I’m excited about him, too. He’s going to have a good year for us.”
After what could have been the worst season of his nine-year NFL career, Mercilus will likely have a bounce-back year with the Texans to advertise his talents to other teams around the league in 2021.
(AP Photo/David Richard)
Position: Defensive End Age: 30 Height: 6-4 Weight: 258 lbs Hometown: Akron, Ohio High School: Akron High School College: Illinois Draft: 2012, First-round pick No. 26 Acquired: 2012 NFL Draft
(Courtesy — Houston Texans)
With Mercilus entering a contract season, past records indicate that the Ohio native will likely play some of the best football of his career. The last time Mercilus was up for a new contract came in 2019, which became one of Mercilus' most productive seasons. He recorded 7.5 sacks and two interceptions, and was awarded a four-year extension worth $53.5 million. But since his significant payday, Mercilus' on-field production took a steep decline. He followed one of his best seasons in 2020 with totaling only 4.0 sacks with no interceptions.