The Texans officially released Cushing on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
The transaction was a formality after the Texans informed the 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 to be capable options 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 Mar. 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 had six tackles (four solo, two assists), including a sack, in Sunday's 45-7 loss to the Jaguars.
Cushing has played two games since returning from a 10-game suspension and recorded a sack in each game. An inside linebacker for his entire career, Cushing is now playing outside linebacker, where his chances to rush the quarterback and record sacks increase.
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 -- 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.
Cushing (suspension) received a repeal of his roster exemption Monday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.
With the roster exemption no more, Cushing is set to play this Sunday's game against San Francisco. The timing couldn't be better, as it comes on the heels of Brennan Scarlett (foot) landing on injured reserve. Cushing will likely resume his starting spot when the team takes the field Sunday.
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