Report: Texans release LB Zach Cunningham 1 year after signing $58 million contract extension

The Houston made an unexpected move on Wednesday, reportedly waiving linebacker and former NFL tackles leader Zach Cunningham.

This is a bit of a surprise because Cunningham still has a little over two years left on his contract. The Texans inked him to a four-year, $58 million extension in Aug. 2020, just 16 months ago.    

Cunningham, 26, has 67 total tackles in 2021, along with one forced fumble and three pass deflections. But he’s also had some disciplinary issues. According to the Houston Chronicle, he was benched for one quarter in Week 2 for violating team rules (reportedly a recurring lateness issue) and was deactivated for Week 13 for violating team rules again (this time he reportedly missed the players’ Sunday morning COVID-19 test).

Head coach David Culley talked about Cunningham and was at least semi-candid. 

Another Texans failure story

This whole situation with Cunningham doesn’t look great for the Texans. They signed him to a $58 million extension about five months after trading standout wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, reportedly because they didn’t want to fork over the money to extend him. One month after Cunningham signed his extension with the Texans, Hopkins signed a two-year, $54.5 million extension with the Cardinals. 

The Texans definitely didn’t have to trade Hopkins, especially because we know they had the money to extend him. But instead they traded him and used that money to sign Cunningham to a four-year deal. Oh, and now they have a $12.8 million dead cap hit next year. To say this didn’t work out for the Texans would be an understatement.

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