Houston Texans: Time to say goodbye to Brian Cushing?
Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has managed to play all 16 games in just three-of-eight NFL seasons, with his latest injury it could be time to move on
Linebacker Brian Cushing is one of the more beloved members of the Houston Texans ever. The star linebacker exploded onto the scene in 2009 as a rookie by recording 134 tackles, five sacks and four interceptions.
He won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award for his efforts, but then nearly lost it. There had to be a re-vote because Cushing violated the league’s substance abuse policy. He was suspended for four games the following season and played well upon his return for the next two years.
Then in 2012 injuries started to creep in. Cushing managed just 12 games in 2012 and 2013 before returning the following year and playing in all but two games. He wasn’t as explosive, but he was showing signs of being himself and getting healthy.
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Last season it seemed like the injury issues were a thing of the past as he played in every game and racked up 110 tackles. It was the first time since 2011 that he surpassed the century mark in this category.
Now just one game into the new year and Cushing has an MCL tear that will sideline him for a minimum of six weeks according to NFL.com. The latest injury makes it seem like the team could decide to move on from the high priced player sooner rather than later.
Although Cushing had over 100 tackles last season, he still hasn’t been the playmaker he once was. He has had four interceptions and eight sacks over the last seven season after recording four and five respectively as a rookie.
His pay seems to be for what he was when he came into the league rather than his current production. According to OverTheCap.com Cush is on the books until 2019 and is set to make $5.5 next season followed by $7.25 million in 2018 and finally $8.25 million his final season under contract.
That’s a lot of money for a guy who they can’t be sure will suit up from week-to-week. Houston has shown that once a player proves health is an issue, they won’t hesitate to move on.
Running back Arian Foster is the franchise leader in rushing yards, but starting in 2013 injuries began to creep in. They hung with him for a couple more seasons, but after a quadriceps tear last year, Houston pulled the plug in the offseason.
The team has been showing a tendency to move on from veteran players and allow youth to be served. Injured veteran players are even more likely to get bypassed.