Cushing visited with the Seahawks on Wednesday, Liz Mathews of USA Today reports. When he wasn't injured or suspended during nine seasons with the Texans, Cushing was quite productive, averaging 6.4 tackles per game while accumulating 13.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and eight interceptions across 104 contests. Working alongside Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, Cushing would solidify the second level of the Seahawks defense, assuming the two sides reach agreement on a contract.
The Texans officially released Cushing on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. The transaction was a formality after the Texans informed Cushing two days earlier that they would part ways with him before the start of the new league year. While Cushing missed 10 games due to suspension last season, rookies Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole proved capable at inside linebacker, which likely contributed heavily to the Texans' decision to cut the veteran.
Cushing has been informed that he will be released by the Texans prior to the start of the new league year March 14, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Texans will save roughly $8 million against the cap by releasing Cushing, who has performed well below his paygrade the past few years and was suspended 10 games this past season for his second violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Making this an even easier decision for Houston was the emergence of 2017 rookie linebackers Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole, who evidently combined to make Cushing expendable. The 2009 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year will finish his time in Houston as the Texans' all-time leading tackler and will certainly draw interest from other organizations at a reduced price when he hits the open market.
Cushing returned from a 10-game suspension and had five tackles, including half a sack, in Week 14's 26-16 loss to the 49ers. Cushing was at strong-side outside linebacker. That's not his usual position, but one that could lead to more sacks for the eight-year veteran, who has spent most of his career at inside linebacker.
The Texans were granted a one-week roster exemption Wednesday to evaluate Cushing's condition following his completion of a 10-game suspension, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Cushing hasn't been added to the 53-man roster and isn't expected to play Sunday against the Titans. "We talked for a while," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said, regarding whether or not to reinstate Cushing this week. "We're going to really condition this week to look at where he's at in that respect. He's been working out obviously, but football conditioning, see where he's at. It's great to have him back in the building and he's happy to be back and kind of take it from there." Cushing was unable to practice with the team while he served his suspension for being a repeat offender of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, so he'll take the next several days to get back up to full speed following the lengthy layoff. The Texans have lost multiple key players due to injury this season, but middle linebacker counts as one of the team's areas of strength. With that in mind, Cushing isn't certain to displace Benardrick McKinney or Zach Cunningham of their respective starting roles once he rejoins the roster.