Houston Texans: Whitney Mercilus just became a lifer with his new deal

Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Houston Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus has inked a new deal with the team, dispelling any doubts that the team would bring him back. How much and long?

The Houston Texans will take part in their last game of the season against the Tennessee Titans, which will be the finale at NRG Stadium.  Although they will host their first-round matchup next week, this will be the final curtain call for the 2019 campaign.

It’s not necessarily certain on what to expect out the Houston Texans playoff run this season but the fact that they were able to wrap things up well before the end of 2019 definitely shows that this team is making a step in the right direction.

If the seeding still remains in place as is, the Houston Texans will face the Buffalo Bills in the first round and we all know that’s not going to be easy.  The Bills have improved tremendously on both sides of the football and they’re as complete as they’ve been in nearly two decades, all behind the leadership of budding quarterback Josh Allen.

So they’ll have to keep that in mind in terms of defending him and I certainly hope that the Houston Texans rest Deshaun Watson tomorrow as he’s ailing with a back injury and I’m sure his right foot is still giving him a bit of trouble as well.

We’ll see what Bill O’Brien decides to do with the roster, especially whatever happens in the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers matchup scheduled for noon tomorrow.  If the Chargers win, that puts the Houston Texans in the No. 3 seed in the AFC and that changes the whole dynamic of the team’s level of difficulty in the first round of the playoffs.

They’d likely face a banged-up Pittsburgh Steelers team featuring Devlin Hodges or Mason Rudolph under center, depending on what the flavor of the week is.

But since there’s a whole lot of football left before these scenarios play out, let’s talk about the good that just happened with one of the Houston Texans‘ top players.

As per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Houston Texans have inked 29-year-old outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus to a four-year, $53.5 million contract extension with $28.5 million guaranteed.

Mercilus was in the final season of a four-year, $26 million deal he signed back in 2015 that pays him a base salary of $5.75 million this season.

His strong play this season — one of the best of his career — has warranted resigning and he has turned a full 180-degree turn since he had previously been lurking among the shadows of one Jadeveon Clowney.

I had proposed — as I’m sure a lot of you did too — that he be traded in the past because it looked

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like he was on the decline.  But with the comeback that this man is making as being the team’s top pass rusher outside of J.J. Watt, this deal should take him through the rest of his prime years.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercilus doesn’t finish his entire career with the Houston Texans as he’s a beloved figure here in Houston and is the consummate professional on and off the field.

When he does hang it up, I do see a second-career for him as a broadcaster because of his natural gift of gab, smooth voice and being able to communicate the nuances of the game in a way that makes us all think intuitively about what we’re seeing on the field.

Mercilus, who was selected 26th in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Illinois, has been one of the best draft picks the Houston Texans have ever had and I’m sure that there could be a spot for him in the Ring of Honor in the foreseeable future but we’ll see.

Congrats on cashing in Whitney and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do to help the defensive line in the playoffs!

Next. Texans prematurely pulled trigger on Fuller's $10.2M option. dark

Mercilus has amassed 48 tackles — 33 solos — along with 7.5 sacks, nine tackles-for-loss, 15 quarterback hits, two interceptions, four forced fumbles, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery heard around the world for an 86-yard return against the Titans just two weeks ago.  He has not missed a game this season.