Report: Mutual interest between Chiefs, pending Texans free agent DE Whitney Mercilus

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The Kansas City Chiefs continue to look for ways to improve their roster as the season progresses, this time looking into help on the defensive side of the ball.

According to Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790, who broke the news of Houston Texans DE Whitney Mercilus’ pending release, there is mutual interest between the Chiefs and the veteran pass-rusher. A former first-round draft pick in 2012 by the way of the University of Illinois, Mercilus has been a steady force on the Texans defensive line for nearly a decade.

Houston’s decision to release Mercilus has more to do with a youth movement at the position as opposed to his performance. In six games played this season, including two starts, Mercilus managed 12 combined tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits.

The 31-year-old has played the majority of his career as a 3-4 outside linebacker in Houston. This is actually his first season playing with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 defensive end. Coming to Kansas City, he’d still be playing that unfamiliar role in a three-point stance.

“It’s been a little different, I’ll tell you that,” Mercilus told reporters in September. “Because now it’s like my keys are shortened down to just reading tackles and tight ends and pre-snap reads, so I can’t see anything that’s post-snap or when motions happen, stuff like that, to get a beat on what might happen, things like that. It’s just reading my keys more so and locking in on that, and just letting instinct take over.”

The one catch here is that Mercilus has yet to be officially released by Houston, so there could be a last-ditch effort to leverage his release into a trade. His contract, however, is rather prohibitive with nearly $5 million in guaranteed money, so it’s unlikely a team would be trading for him. He’d likely be willing to accept a minimum contract if he does hit free agency. If he does get released at the end of the day on Tuesday the earliest he could possibly sign with Kansas City is Wednesday.

Mercilus does have some connections to Kansas City. He played with Chiefs defensive captain Tyrann Mathieu in Houston and was a college teammate of former Chiefs OL Jeff Allen.

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