The Houston Texans have put linebacker Zach Cunningham on waivers and are moving on from their tackle leader from last season. Though the move has officially been made by GM Nick Caserio, and head coach David Culley one has to question if it was the correct decision.
There are five games left in the 2021 NFL season and releasing Cunningham doesn’t bode well for the chances to add many more wins to their overall total – which is currently two – as the Texans are set to host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14.
Cunningham’s numbers have been down compared to last season, with his ’21 numbers in 10 games include 67 tackles with 32 of those being solo tackles. Cunningham – who is in his fifth season – has four tackles for loss, no sacks and one quarterback hit this season.
Last year Cunningham led the NFL with 167 tackles in 16 games, including a league-best 106 solo tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks and four QB hits.
This season is the first year since Cunningham was a rookie that he’s not had 100 tackles with the Texans, as he’s played 72 games with the franchise, 66 of those games being starts.
Texans: Zach Cunningham isn’t bigger than the team
In a tweet earlier today by Mark Bearman a video was provided of Culley speaking to the media about the Cunningham situation:
That pretty much sums it up because the if the head coach isn’t letting a player be ahead of the team, then it seems Cunningham ruffled some feathers so to speak within the Texans’ organization this season, because he’s a talented player who will be on another roster very soon.
Will we ever really know what happens behind the scenes, probably not, but the Texans this season have proven that no veteran is more important than the rebuild of the organization.
For the sake of the team morale, and going by the rules, it makes sense that Cunningham was cut by the Texans, but on the other hand losing one of their top defensive players will hurt this team for the final five games of the season, and the overall play of the defense will be down as well.
Moving forward the Texans will have a big dead cap hit in releasing Cunningham, as he had a four-year deal signed when Bill O’Brien was the general manager. Apparently, the cap hit was worth not having Cunningham around, but on the field, things will most likely be even worse than they’ve been already this season.
But a standard has been set by the Texans and lets all hope it leads to more success next season that it has in year one.