Whitney Mercilus has been a key player in the Texans defense since being drafted in 2012 and recently returned from a gruesome pectoral injury that he suffered Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs. This news come along with reports that the Texans are seeking to extend Mercilus to a long term deal.

Although Mercilus is signed through 2020, he does have an out in 2018 that could lead to him becoming a free agent sooner than the Texans had expected. Because of this, the team is now making it a priority to lock him up for many years to come.

At 27 years old, Mercilus is still a young player who has a lot to bring to the table, especially when on the same defense as J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. This trio has been able to terrorize quarterbacks for years, and the hope for the Texans front office is that they can continue to do so in the future.

Over his six-year career, Mercilus has amassed 38.5 sacks and 156 tackles over just 64 games. This efficiency led to Mercilus being a second-team All-Pro in 2016 and has made him a staple on the defense as an edge rusher.

Defense & Fumbles Table
Game Game Fumb Fumb Fumb Fumb Sack Sack Sack
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS FF FR Yds TD Sk Tkl Ast
2012 22 HOU lb 59 16 4 2 1 0 0 6.0 15 3
2013 23 HOU LB 59 16 16 7.0 33 14
2014 24 HOU LB 59 15 13 2 0 0 0 5.0 31 19
2015 25 HOU de/LB 59 16 11 1 2 5 0 12.0 32 18
2016 26 HOU LB 59 15 15 1 4 7 0 7.5 36 17
2017 27 HOU lb 59 5 5 1 0 0 0 1.0 9 1
Care Care 83 64 7 7 12 0 38.5 156 72

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table

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Extending Mercilus is a decision that should be made, and should be made soon because the defense will be notably worse if his out option in 2018 is exercised. His 38.5 sacks are no mistake; Mercilus is an elite edge rusher who is consistently able to put pressure on quarterbacks. Not extending him, and thus increasing the likelihood that he leaves the team, is an unnecessary risk to take when he’s such a valuable player.

Furthermore, the recent injury that Mercilus recently came back from has significantly driven down his contract value, making it the perfect time to sign him to an extension. If the Texans wait another season to re-sign Mercilus, he could very well have another productive season and drive his value back up. In other words, now is the time to buy low on Mercilus, because if the Texans don’t now they’ll probably have to pay up later.

He is also a leader in the Houston Texans locker room, so keeping him around could only have positive benefits in terms of team chemistry. Not to mention, Mercilus is heavily entrenched in the community, with his WithMerci Foundation currently spending thousands of dollars to support families with children that have special needs.

The WithMerci Foundation donating $20,000 to the HISD Foundation (stylemagazine.com).

Overall, Whitney Mercilus is essential to the Texans on and off the field, thus making it imperative that he is re-signed before the 2018 season.

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