s the Texans continue to pivot toward a youth movement, the team is letting go of one of their longest-tenured player. Houston is releasing veteran defensive end Whitney Mercilus, reports Aaron Wilson (via Twitter).
Mercilus has seen a reduced role in recent weeks, but the 31-year-old has still put up solid numbers despite the part-time role, compiling 12 tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, and three QB hits. The Texans have recently pivoted to Jon Greenard and Jacob Martin at defensive end, sending Mercilus to a backup role.
The defensive end had spent his entire nine-plus-year career in Houston, starting 102 of his 132 games. He ranks second in franchise history (behind J.J. Watt) in a number of statistics, including sacks (57), forced fumbles (13), tackles for loss (72), and QB hits (115).
Mercilus inked a four-year extension with the Texans in 2019, but thanks to an offseason restructuring, he was set to hit free agent following the 2021 campaign. He’ll now hit free agency a bit earlier than that, but it probably won’t take long before the veteran finds his next gig.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.