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Houston Texans Restructure Zach Cunningham’s Contract

More cap space for whatever Nick Caserio has in store.

Baltimore Ravens v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Texans’ new general manager, Nick Caserio, continues his best efforts to undo the widely panned moves made by the previous regime. This time, he’s restructured inside linebacker Zach Cunningham’s contract, converting a large chunk to a signing bonus and freeing up more cap room.

Former head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien extended Cunningham last August for a very pretty penny. Today, the immediate strain of that contract on the Texans’ salary cap has been somewhat mitigated.

The Texans selected Cunningham in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft and he’s been one of the team’s most productive defenders for his entire pro career. Since entering the league, Cunningham has contributed 503 combined tackles, 326 solo stops, 177 assists, 22 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, 3 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception (that he returned for a touchdown).

In 2020, Cunningham led the league with 164 combined tackles, 106 of which were solo efforts. Keeping Cunningham around makes a lot of sense. Converting part of his salary to bonus makes sense. What Houston is going to do with the cap savings is still a mystery.