The Texans are cutting veteran defensive end Whitney Mercilus, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
The Texans are releasing Mercilus, 31, as they continue to go with a youth movement on the defensive line with the team starting defensive ends Jon Greenard, who has been impressive with four sacks, and Jacob Martin, one of the fastest pass rushers in the NFL.
Mercilus restructured his original four-year, $54 million contract during the offseason, creating $4 million in salary cap space by converting $6 million of his $10.5 million salary into a signing bonus.
Hours later, Mercilus reacted to parting ways with the AFC South franchise in a lengthy and emotional Instagram post. Among the NFL teams with strong mutual interest in Mercilus, according to sources: the Kansas City Chiefs.
"It was 10 years ago I received the call that would forever change my life," Mercilus wrote. "The Houston Texans organization welcomed me with open arms and the City of Houston became home.To the McNair family... Thank you for believing in a kid from Akron, Ohio.To my teammates who have become my brothers for life... Thank you for the talks, thank you for having my back on the field and thank you for always coming through for my work in the community.
"Texans fans... You have been amazing! We’ve been together through both exciting and challenging times, and I'll always admire the heart and perseverance of the Houston community. No matter what, you've always showed up and supported me on and off the field.God always has a plan, so now I await what’s ahead…Rock Boy out! 🤘🏾🎸"
Mercilus still makes the full $10.5 million he was scheduled to earn, and this helped the Texans pay for dozens of transactions executed by general manager Nick Caserio and the team's personnel department.
Mercilus has three sacks this season as he's started two of six games played and has 57 career sacks since being drafted in the first round out of Illinois in 2012.
Mercilus has recorded 72 career tackles for losses, 13 forced fumbles and 115 quarterback hits.
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128