NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the team agreed to a four-year extension with Mercilus worth $26 million on Monday, with $10.5 million guaranteed, according to a source informed of the deal. Tania Ganguli of ESPN first reported the news; the Texans officially announced the signing later.
Mercilus has 18 sacks in three seasons, although we wouldn't call him a consistent pass-rusher. He improved in his third season as a run defender and is a known quantity on the outside at a position for Houston that has a lot of young talent.
The contract is not a shock because general manager Rick Smith has talked up Mercilus as an ascending player who the team wanted to keep around. Then again, the move wasn't necessarily easy to see coming because Mercilus has been up-and-down as a player since entering the league. Much like Kareem Jackson, another Houston first-rounder, Mercilus has overcome a poor first impression.