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Putting The Brian Cushing Contract Extension In Historical Perspective

Brian Cushing inked a six-year extension to stay with the Houston Texans. How do the terms of that deal stack up with other NFL inside linebackers?

Bob Levey

You may have heard that Brian Cushing agreed to a six-year extension worth $55,643,000.00 ($21,000,000.00 in guaranteed money) to stay with your Houston Texans. From the metric of yearly average value, Cushing's new contract exceeds that of Patrick Willis, the man widely considered to be the best linebacker in all of football. Of course, yearly averages mean little in professional football, where guaranteed money is the key to interpreting contracts.

In that regard, Cushing's guaranteed figure of $21 mil is significantly less than the guarantees Willis ($29,000,000.00) and teammate NaVorro Bowman ($25,500,000.00) received from the 49ers in their respective extensions. When forecasting the possible parameters of a Cushing extension, our own TexansDC used Willis and Bowman's deals as benchmarks, opining back in May in relevant part:

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.

The extension Cushing agreed to would seem to represent a compromise both sides can feel good about. The guaranteed dollars are lower than the highest end of the market, which undoubtedly benefits the Texans. The total potential value of the extension sets a new standard in the market, which surely pleases Cushing and his agent (even if Cushing doesn't actually see every dollar, particularly on the back end of the deal). The negotiators on each side can claim victory in some respect.

Still looking for some historical contractual perspective as it pertains to your Houston Texans? Recall that another homegrown Texans linebacker was once in a rather similar situation.  DeMeco Ryans agreed to a six-year extension worth $48,000,000.00 (with $21,750,000.00 in guaranteed money) back in 2010.

When comparing Cushing's extension to those agreed to by Willis, Bowman, and Ryans, how do you feel about the deal now?