On Wednesday, former Green Bay Packers pass-rusher Whitney Mercilus announced on Instagram that he will retire from professional football. In the video post, Mercilus stated he’s “looking forward to his next chapter in life.”
After nine-and-a-half seasons with the Houston Texans, Mercilus and the Texans had a “mutual” release around mid-season of last year, which led to him signing with the Green Bay Packers two days after Houston let him hit the open market. He saw action as a sub-package pass-rusher with the team for four games before he tore his bicep against the Seattle Seahawks, ending his regular season.
Mercilus would return to the team for the playoffs, in a surprising move, playing 12 defensive snaps in the Packers’ 13-10 loss at home to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round. He signed a one-year contract with Green Bay, meaning that he was technically an unrestricted free agent before the announcement.
The Packers, having lost Za’Darius Smith and Mercilus, have little to no depth behind starters Preston Smith and Rashan Gary at outside linebacker as it stands today. Tipa Galeai, Jonathan Garvin and LaDarius Hamilton each saw playing time in 2021, due to necessity, but none of them came close to the production that Smith and Mercilus gave the team off the bench.
With Mercilus officially ruled out as a possibility moving forward, the team will have to look at other veteran outside linebacker options and/or to the draft to fill out their depth chart.