The Houston Texans recently gave star linebacker and team captain Brian Cushing a huge contract extension for six years and $52 million. There’s a lot of concern about this contract length, and not just due to his coming off the ACL injury.
We see it every year. Some player has a terrific season in his contract year, and then signs a new contract to “guarantee” his production levels will stay with whatever team he plays for. Sadly, almost all of these contracts then look terrible as the player proceeds to contribute almost nothing to his team the next season.
Some prime examples include Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, Oakland Raiders mistakes Javon Walker and Carson Palmer, former Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme and former Washington Redskins lineman Albert Haynesworth.
I think you get the point, so we won’t go into the terrible contracts. Instead, let’s discuss why Cushing is worth all this money.
Cushing is a great character guy and a terrific leader, having been elected a captain of the defense now three years in a row. In his career, he has 354 tackles, 10.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and seven interceptions. He had 30 tackles in just the first five games in 2012 before tearing his ACL.
The Texans didn’t rush his rehab from the injury, and made absolutely sure he was okay to go this season. This new contract won’t take effect until next season, so for now he’s still on his original $15.9 million contract he signed in 2009. The deal will expire in 2019, so this contract will keep the star linebacker with the Texans through his prime. If he plays like pre-injury Cushing, then he’s definitely worth the $8.75 million per year.