Brian Cushing will not make it to a 10th season with the Texans. The former first-round pick will be a free agent soon.
The Texans plan to release Cushing before the start of free agency, Mark Berman of Fox 26 reports (on Twitter). The former defensive rookie of the year played in only five games last season and has encountered trouble with performance-enhancing drugs.
Cushing started all 104 regular-season games he played with Houston but will turn 31 this offseason and will save the franchise $7.64MM in cap space. Two years remain on Cushing’s contract.
This release would give the Texans more than $64MM in cap room as they prepare for an offseason that will feature upgrade attempts along their offensive line and in the secondary, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes.
McClain reports Cushing texted him this is “part of the business” (Twitter link). The veteran linebacker will join the list of non-rush ‘backers available as free agents. Once the Texans release Cushing, he’ll be free to sign with any team immediately as a street free agent.
Cushing played an integral role for the Texans for nearly a decade. He’s the franchise’s all-time leading tackler with 664 stops. But the team drafted Zach Cunningham in last year’s second round and added productive rookie UDFA Dylan Cole last year as well, marginalizing the longtime defender.
The former USC talent has experienced frequent injury problems as well, tabbing his career surgery count at more than 20. He served a 10-game ban for a positive PED test last season and was popped for four games back in 2010. Knee injuries sidelined Cushing for extensive portions of the 2012 and ’13 campaigns, but he rebounded to be a full-time player in both of Houston’s subsequent AFC South championship slates in 2015 and ’16.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.