Houston Texans: How team should handle Brian Cushing’s return

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22: Brian Cushing
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22: Brian Cushing /

The Houston Texans season is teetering along between the edges of mediocrity and below average but it’s possible they welcome a familiar face in middle linebacker Brian Cushing with open arms.  Here’s how the team should handle his return.

The Houston Texans have interesting situation on their hands and we all knew that this was coming.  It’s the impending return of middle linebacker Brian Cushing as he eligible to return this Tuesday from his 10-game suspension he’s been serving since mid-September.

Cushing, for the second time in his NFL career, tested positive for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.  The punishment warranted by he being a repeat offender warranted the punishment that was doled out.

I thought when the news was announced about his infraction that it was beginning of the end of Cushing’s career in Houston as we know it.  It was evident that he had started the unfortunate track of aging and with all of the injuries that he had to deal with through his career, it was clear that there was an elongated effect on his level of play.

But fast-forward to the present — we’ve lost a tremendous chunk of talent on our roster with Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, D’Onta Foreman as well as Christian Covington — an emerging talent — off our roster because of injury.  Although Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham have been able to hold it down solidly, there is still a void with the depth with our defensive line.

Bill O’Brien has already said that the “we’re going to get him back in the building and see how he’s doing and go from there” so it’s quite possible that he’ll be out there as early as Week 13 against the San Francsico 49ers at home if he’s in game-shape.

I would hope after being off for 3 1/2 months that he’d be ready to go in terms of being physically fit.  It certainly wouldn’t be a good look if he wasn’t and that would give a reason for the Houston

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As much as I want him cut for the violation that he made, I know the Houston Texans will bring him back because of the severe need for healthy players that are familiar with the system that they run.

And besides, Cushing’s salary cap hit is $9.32 million this season with $6.76 million of his salary not being guaranteed.  Cushing roughly makes $397K per game so the Texans have saved themselves $3.97 million in pay this season.  If they do bring him back, they’ll only have to pay his guaranteed money along with $1.59 million in worth of weekly compensation over the final four weeks of the season.

Since they have to pay him anyway, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t bring back under these circumstances that are actually favorable for the Texans.  As much of a bear I am on cheating, I know my words will be obscured by the fact that the nature of business will win out over any type of morals that should be factored into the decision that’s about to be made on his status.

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We’ll definitely know something likely by early next week at the latest if they decide to bring him back.

Cushing, 30, has recorded one tackle — two assisted — and zero sacks in one game of action which was all in Week 1 this season.

Go Texans.