Packers get pass-rush help, reportedly signing Whitney Mercilus

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers - Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers - Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Former second-team All-Pro linebacker Whitney Mercilus is set to sign with the Green Bay Packers, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

According to Fowler, Mercilus is turning down more money elsewhere for a chance to play for the Packers.

Mercilus, 31, has spent his entire 10-year career with the Houston Texans. He was drafted in the first round by the Texans in 2012 after spending three years at Illinois University. Despite two lackluster seasons in his Freshman and Sophomore years, Mercilus would go on to put up 16 sacks and force nine fumbles in his Junior year.

The Akron native didn’t see much playing time in his rookie year with the Texans, only starting four games despite playing in all 16 of them. Even with a low snap count, Mercilus was able to register six sacks, two forced fumbles and 25 combined tackles.

Mercilus’ breakout year came in 2015, when he recorded 12 sacks despite only starting 10 out of 16 games. Along with the high sack total, Mercilus had 52 tackles, two passes defended and one forced fumble. In the Texans’ playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs that year, Mercilus had a three-sack outing despite the 30-0 loss.

The 2015 season would be Mercilus’ best year by far, as he went on to regress and not record more than seven-and-a-half sacks in the coming seasons. In 2016, Mercilus was given a second-team All-Pro nod – putting up record tackles and QB hit numbers for himself.

From 2017 and on, Mercilus has dealt with injury issues. Aside from playing the full 2019 season (where he had seven-and-a-half sacks), his 2017-2021 campaigns have saw Mercilus start a total of 22 games.

In 2021, he’s played every game for the Houston Texans but has only seen two starts. Playing on 52% of the Texans’ defensive snaps, Mercilus has recorded three sacks, 12 tackles and three QB hits. In the very limited capacity that he’s played, Mercilus has earned a 61.1 Pro Football Focus grade.