Three days ago, Brian Cushing agreed to a six-year, $55.643 million ($21 mil guaranteed) extension to continue plying his trade at linebacker for your Houston Texans. Aside from the total potential value of the deal and the amount of guaranteed money, we didn't know any other details of how the extension was structured.
Jason La Canfora does, though. And what he's shared would make it seem like the Texans did an exceptional job minimizing their risk in extending Cushing's deal. La Canfora writes:
Cushing, who has been suspended for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs in the past and who is coming off season-ending surgery, will make $10.149 million this season, including a $9 million signing bonus, and his $2 million salary for 2014 is guaranteed for skill, injury and cap purposes.
Beyond that, however, the Texans have the option to basically bring him along year by year, and they can get out of the deal without significant drawbacks for purposes of skill or cap. Cushing's $6 million option bonus in 2014 is not guaranteed and if the Texans do not exercise it, then a future year of his deal becomes guaranteed for $6 million -- but for injury only, so the team still has the ability to let him go for other reasons if need be.
Interesting. The Texans will pay Cushing a ton of money this year. After that, however, the team appears to have built in a significant amount of flexibility going forward, a considerable victory under any metric and a massive victory when you consider the amount of players on the current roster who are going to need extensions of their own soon.
Rick Smith and Chris Olsen keep getting better and better at this contract game.