Brian Cushing’s first three years led us to believe a potential hall-of-fame career was developing. He was Defensive Rookie of The Year in 2009, and Wade Phillips was calling him the Defensive MVP in 2011 – the first playoff season.
Then a couple of bad luck injury shortened seasons, and Cushing seemingly hasn’t made a play since Week 1 of 2013 (remember that interception of Phillip Rivers?).
It wouldn’t have made sense to release him the last couple of years. His “Dead Cap” was higher than his actual “Cap Hit” – meaning there would have been no financial gain for the team.
But this year, letting him go would save the Texans about $5 million of cap space. Already $30 million under the cap, I’m wondering what the Texans are thinking? There was plenty of room to bring back all three of AJ Bouye, John Simon, and Quintin Demps… yet we didn’t bring back ANY OF THEM???
This is eerily reminding me of the offseason after 2012.
The Texans were coming off of two straight playoff seasons. They had a terrific defense, yet decided to let their young OLB in Connor Barwin go. They let their starting safety in Glover Quin go. And then what happened? 2-14 and the end of Kubiak/Phillips (but not Rick Smith…hmmm)
Not to mention, Barwin and Quin went on to have their best seasons elsewhere.
And the year before, the Texans had made a tough call to let Demeco Ryans go – who ended up having his best year 2 years later in 2013 with the Eagles. But that seemed like the right move – Demeco tore his ACL and Cushing was clearly ready to take over.
So now, the Texans similarly have a young stud at MLB ready to take over in Benardrick McKinney. Cushing is 30 and has not had an impact in quite a while. Why is he still on this team?
Demeco was only 27 when we let him go… JJ Watt’s age. JJ just had a major injury, are we letting him go soon? (rhetorical question).
I just don’t understand Rick Smith sometimes.
In regards to AJ Bouye, I don’t see why we couldn’t bring him back. Maybe Rick is fearing another Dunta Robinson situation – paying “great” money to just a “good” player. He made the right call in that situation. But Dante was 28 and had clearly plateaued. AJ Bouye is just 26 and still getting better.
Maybe he’s fearing a Mario Williams situation, but that’s not as good a comparison. Mario was overhyped as the #1 pick, and he had good stats that were misleading of his impact on the game. Bouye is almost the opposite – he was undrafted, and his lack of stats belie his strong impact on the defense.
I guess timing is everything. And now seems like the right time to release Cushing.