The following would be a case where the local fan base could have told the national beat writer, "We knew that. Thanks."
In this NFL.com article, inside linebacker Brian Cushing reveals that the franchise has yet to discuss a contract extension with the Houston Texans. Cushing, a 2009 first round pick, is entering the final year of his rookie deal.
However, having seen this same scenario with quarterback Matt Schaub a year ago, most Texans fans knew the team would wait until training camp to see how Cushing bounces back from his season-ending ACL tear. To his credit, Cushing doesn't seem too concerned.
"No, you know, if they have, I wouldn't even know because my main concern right now is just getting healthy and that'll take care of everything else," Cushing told the Houston Chronicle this week. "If they have, I wouldn't even know. I try to stay out of that stuff. Obviously, I would like to get that done but it's not really up to me."
Given the praise heaped on Cushing by head coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, it's really a matter of when, not if, the Texans talk extension. Schaub's case is a great example and, should Cushing prove himself healthy in training camp and preseason, I can see an extension getting done in late August/early September.
As for potential contract numbers, the easiest, and likely fairest, route would be to take a look at the contracts of San Francisco's Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Jon Beason's comments notwithstanding, Willis, Bowman, and Cushing are top-three inside linebackers. Willis, the six-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, is the unquestioned best. His contract, seven-years, $53.5 million with $29M guaranteed, shouldn't be exceeded.
Bowman, like Cushing, is a Pro Bowl talent and All-Pro honoree. Unlike Cushing, Bowman wasn't a Defensive Rookie of the Year and had less tape to bring to the negotiating table. Bowman's seven-year deal worth $46.4M and $25.5M guaranteed should be the minimum here.
For me, I'd split the difference and hand Cushing a deal of roughly $49.5M, with $27M guaranteed, over seven years, but general manager Rick Smith has rewarded loyalty before. He could creep those numbers up to the $51M neighborhood.
Thoughts, BRBers? Surprised by the lack of talks? Thinking the San Francisco duo have really set the parameters for the contract talk? Thinking Luke Kuechly is the best middle linebacker in football, as Beason said?