The downtrodden Houston Texans have now opted to move off their most-tenured player in that of Whitney Mercilus as the team continues its youth movement.
A first-round pick of the Texans back in 2012, Mercilus has been a steady force on their defensive line. The pass rusher recorded a career-high 12 sacks back in 2015 and has been a consistent player out on the edge. Thus far this season, he’s recorded three sacks in limited action over the course of six games.
Houston’s decision to release Mercilus comes in lieu of finding a trade partner to take on the remainder of his $4.5 million base salary for the 2021 season. Now that he’s set to hit free agency, there’s a number of teams who would be interesting in bringing him in. Here, we look at four ideal destinations.
Kansas City Chiefs sign Whitney Mercilus
Through the first six games of this season, the two-time defending AFC champions have registered an NFL-low seven sacks. Having a relatively unknown in Michael Danna leading the team in sacks is not going to cut it. This has also played a role in Kansas City yielding a league-high 1,725 passing yards to go with a 102.2 opposing quarterback rating.
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As we’ve seen a ton in the recent past, general manager Brett Veach is always active on both the trade front and free agent market. Bringing in a veteran who has recorded 57 career sacks would make sense.
Whitney Mercilus lands with the Seattle Seahawks
We’re not yet sure of the extent of the injury sophomore pass rusher Darrell Taylor suffered this past Sunday night. What we do know is that it was a scary upper-body injury and will likely force him out of action for a while.
The backdrop here is a Seahawks team that finds itself at 2-4 for the first time since 2015 primarily due to issues on the defensive side of the ball. Opposing quarterbacks have thrown 10 touchdowns against two interceptions against this unit for a 102.1 passer rating. Outside of Taylor’s four sacks, not another member of Seattle’s defense even has more than one. Obviously, Mercilus would change this in a big way.
Tennessee Titans sign Whitney Mercilus
The signing of free-agent Bud Dupree has not been fruitful for Tennessee thus far this season. He’s appeared in two games without a single sack. Of the 10 quarterback take downs the Titans have through five games, 4.5 have come via Harold Landry. Outside of that, there’s not much to write home about in Nashville.
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For Tennessee, this has been a continual issue. Despite earning a trip to the playoffs for a second consecutive season in 2020, the Titans’ defense recorded a mere 19 sacks. Nabbing Mercilus from the division-rival Texans would help matters.
Whitney Mercilus signs with Green Bay Packers
The injury to Pro Bowl pass rusher Za’Darius Smith has certainly had an impact in the Packers through six weeks. Despite being in the midst of a five-game winning streak, Green Bay ranks in the bottom five of the NFL in quarterback hurry percentage. That could loom large moving forward depending on the status of Smith.
What we do know is that the Packers have been active in an attempt to add to their defense. That included signing former Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith off the street from the Dallas Cowboys. Could Mercilus be next?