Within the last 24 hours, the Houston Texans let word leak out about their decision to release pass rusher Whitney Mercilus as part of an apparent youth movement. In the process, multiple teams found themselves linked to the veteran as a potential destination to varying degrees, including the Kansas City Chiefs. Now it appears those rumors were false, or at least the connection wasn’t as strong as anticipated, as Mercilus has signed with the Green Bay Packers.
Mercilus found himself on the outs in Houston after starting the first two games of the season only to become a rotational player in the following four games. The Texans, instead, have undergone a total commitment to their younger players as they anticipate a long rebuilding process after their 1-5 start. (Not that anyone expected otherwise even before the season began.)
Mercilus is second on the Texans all-time sack list and has been a valuable performer in the Texans front seven. While he never made a Pro Bowl, Mercilus did make defenses pay for focusing too much attention on the likes of J.J. Watt or Jadeveon Clowney over the years with four seasons of 7-plus sacks. His career high is 12 sacks, set back in 2015.
The Chiefs missed out on Whitney Mercilus to the Packers.
Now Mercilus will have a chance to chase Super Bowl glory in the NFC by switching conferences and joining a defense that already includes pass rushers like Kenny Clark, Preston Smith and others. For Chiefs fans who wanted to see Mercilus, the Packers will actually visit Arrowhead in November in Week 9, so maybe Mercilus will be seeing regular reps by that point.
As for the Chiefs, they could still be shoppers for another veteran who is released or at the trade deadline given their reported interest here. The Chiefs have Frank Clark outside when healthy at one edge and have experimented with Chris Jones outside as well. However, both have been injured for multiple weeks so far in 2021, but fortunately Mike Danna has proven worthy of starting reps as well in their absence.
So far, the Chiefs haven’t been able to create much pressure up front in 2021, which has contributed greatly to their 3-3 record through the season’s first six weeks. Now the team has to hope that Clark and Jones can get healthy and stay that way and that Jarran Reed can impact opposing offensive fronts a bit more as he adjusts to Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
Mercilus, who is now 31 years old, is in his tenth NFL season. He has a total of 115 quarterback hits, 72 tackles for loss, 57 sacks, and 13 forced fumbles in 134 games (including 102 starts) in the NFL. He is second on the Texans all time sack list behind J.J. Watt.