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Houston Texans 2017 2nd round pick, Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

Texian

Hall of Fame
Luckily they wont need the cap space next yr.

I'm hoping Caserio nails this draft 4 or 5 guys and 2-3 KGH/Kirksey/Thomas type guys in FA. Mostly I hope the OL gets fixed.
Just because you keep saying that doesn't make it so. It only means you're just as uninformed today as you were when you first said it. The Texans had virtually NO dead cap money and a lot more players under contract beginning in 2021. The start of 2022 they will only have 75% of the cap available and fewer players under contract. That is much bigger problem that has been manifested by the File Clerk in less than 1 year. The basic premise behind rebuilding is to improve your salary cap status, not destroy it!

Hoping the File Clerk gets it right is much like the pooping in the hand tale. Based on recent history of draft blunders, trade fiascos, contract restructuring, fiscal mismanagement, you should be afraid, very afraid.

Are you?

If they do what they did last offseason I think they will be able to find another 3 or 4 cheap guys that can play like they did last season and add them to the 3-4 cheap guys they found this FA season. Then add difference makers in the draft.

But even if you're right (Which you probably will be) and they suck again next yr, will the cap be relatively clean in 2023 and will Caserio most likely have a full compliment of high draft picks to work with?
They can't do what they did last year because they have less money than they did last year, will have fewer players under contract and they don't have the contracts the File Clerk can restructure in 2022 like he did in 2021. This is the MOTHER of all Death Spirals.

Its beyond pitiful that we can't even trade guys that are starters in the league.
Starters for the Texans, yes. Starters for 31 other teams in the league, no. This is much like the University of Texas when they didn't have one player drafted in the NFL.
 
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Mr teX

Hall of Fame
Some seem to forgotten all the grief Cunningham got on this board the last couple years...
it’s funny b/c he’s was the worst cover LB in the history of the NFL when he was here playing for us….but the minute he’s waived, you got posters claiming with no proof whatsoever that he could’ve been traded and we could’ve gotten a 3rd or 4th rounder for him:lol:. Last I checked, FO’s generally don’t give up that kind of comp for middling to below average LB’s. The Texans typically get these types of moves right anyway. Cunningham can’t play…it was time to move on from him.
 

Earl34

All Pro
Has it been?

Or is this just some of the media pushing a narrative. Like I said the Colts dont seem to have an issue with this with Reich. It seems to me that everybody knows where Easterby/Reich stand but they dont wear their religion on their sleeves.

Wonder what people would think of devout Christians like Tom Landry or Reggie White in the NFL these days?

My point is this is a false narrative that's been pushed by the media. I find the media to be intellectually lazy and territorial. Of course I've got a very low opinion of the slimey media in sports after what they did to Luhnow.
This is a strawman argument and unfair. I have yet to come across a fan who hates players or front office personnel who are devout Christians. If a devout Christian doesn't like Joel Osteen's brand of preaching, does that make them less of a Christian? Maybe some fans feel he uses religion to mask his career ambitions. Maybe some feel he should have been fired with BOB. Maybe some feel he is now the executor of the Texans worthy standard. There are other reasons besides the automatic, he is hated because he is a Christian. You know that.
 
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Number19

Hall of Fame
You know this how?

He could've just been following orders from Cal. We dont know.

What we do know is, 1. BOB was in charge of making the draft calls. Easterby had something to do with negotiating contracts. (He was terrible at this job.) Obviously from last offseason Caerio has taken over this job.
On 610, a couple of days ago, I (think) I heard that the Lopez pick was Easterby's. In fact Caserio disagreed with the pick and was heard to mutter to Easterby, "this pick is on you". Anyone else hear this?
 

Earl34

All Pro

Lots of Cunningham and standards of the Texans from Cooks, Greenard, and Burkhead
I wished Watt was still around for Culley to tell him stop free lancing and play his responsibility. He wants him to be the best player for the team.

How tough of a call is that to make in this situation?
"It wasn't tough at all. It's about the team. It's not about any individual player. The one thing we always talk about is that it's not necessarily trying to be the best player on the team but being the best player for the team. That's our motto."
 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
If you read the PFF article it says they tried to trade the dude and got no offers. But aside from that, you try to give a guy a chance to get his bearings. But if the guy continuously shows that he's out of it, you do what you gotta do. Furthermore, we don't know when they started to see him as this "bad soldier".

Maybe he was ok..........that is until he started seeing his PT getting cut down.

Maybe he came in to camp salty b/c Caserio essentially forced him to restructure his deal or.....get his ass cut before the season start & he opted for the former rather than face being on the market late in the game and getting a shitty deal.

Maybe it just hit him that he wants out RIGHT NOW so he started acting like an ass to be released.

There are at least a few reasons why it could've happened at this time and not some time earlier. I just don't understand why you guys always think something had to have changed on the FO's side for this move to have happened when it did. The players have a very prominent part in all this too.
Let's see if we can set the time line straight.
In 2020, OB gave ZC a 4-yr deal worth $58M (including a $12M signing bonus within a guarantee of $24M).

In another word, the Texans are on the hook $24M total.

In March, Caserio restructured his deal, basically advancing all of the remaining guaranteed money.
In another word, the whole $24M was all paid for.

That was shown as his combined earning in 2020 and 2021.

Any team that trades for him in the off-season would only incur a 900K base salary.

That's a cheap deal, and it's hard to believe he cannot be traded at that price point for a draft pick.
(Basically, you'd be buying a draft pick).

For Cunningham, getting the money up front is a plus for him; it's exactly the opposite of getting salty.

Maybe he gets lackadaisical because he's already pocketed most of the money.
Maybe he expected to play more.

But that should rest on Lovie, to determine whether Zach is a good fit for his defense or not to begin with.

Maybe there was a miscommunication between Caserio and Lovie.

Caserio is probably too used to the Man Cover Two in Foxboro, which is quite different from the Tampa 2, which is more zone but with the MLB droppi
Jay Foreman once lead the NFL in tackles and got cut the next off-season. He was never heard from again. Cunningham's game reminds me of Foreman's. A take down tackler down field and liability in pass coverage. Kinda like Jaylon Smith was for the Cowboys last yr and this yr before getting cut. Which is exactly the same thing that happened to Cunningham.
You're making stuff up.


Injuries is what derailed his career.
 

Earl34

All Pro
On 610, a couple of days ago, I (think) I heard that the Lopez pick was Easterby's. In fact Caserio disagreed with the pick and was heard to mutter to Easterby, "this pick is on you". Anyone else hear this?
It was O'Brien, Easterby and the Greenard pick. The Lions backed out of a trade or they couldn't complete a trade in time and had to use the pick on Greenard. In other words, they lucked into one of the best young players on the roster.

 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
it’s funny b/c he’s was the worst cover LB in the history of the NFL when he was here playing for us….but the minute he’s waived, you got posters claiming with no proof whatsoever that he could’ve been traded and we could’ve gotten a 3rd or 4th rounder for him:lol:. Last I checked, FO’s generally don’t give up that kind of comp for middling to below average LB’s. The Texans typically get these types of moves right anyway. Cunningham can’t play…it was time to move on from him.
He was still ranked 13th overall by PFF.


No, he was not worth the contract he got, but the team that would trade for him in the last off-season doesn't have that big contract to deal with since Caserio had taken to pay a large chunk of it and most if not all the guaranteed money.

That team would have him cheap for the year and they can cut him anytime.
They can always renegotiate his contract next year, if they still want to keep him, at the level they deem reasonable.
....
Me, in particular, I didn't ask for a high draft pick.
...
For those who claimed that there were no buyers during the last off-season, it makes next to zero sense.

A two-down LB at that caliber worths a heck a lot more than a mere 900K, which was his base salary for the year.
 

Mr teX

Hall of Fame
Let's see if we can set the time line straight.
In 2020, OB gave ZC a 4-yr deal worth $58M (including a $12M signing bonus within a guarantee of $24M).

In another word, the Texans are on the hook $24M total.

In March, Caserio restructured his deal, basically advancing all of the remaining guaranteed money.
In another word, the whole $24M was all paid for.

That was shown as his combined earning in 2020 and 2021.

Any team that trades for him in the off-season would only incur a 900K base salary.

That's a cheap deal, and it's hard to believe he cannot be traded at that price point for a draft pick.
(Basically, you'd be buying a draft pick).

For Cunningham, getting the money up front is a plus for him; it's exactly the opposite of getting salty.

Maybe he gets lackadaisical because he's already pocketed most of the money.
Maybe he expected to play more.

But that should rest on Lovie, to determine whether Zach is a good fit for his defense or not to begin with.

Maybe there was a miscommunication between Caserio and Lovie.

Caserio is probably too used to the Man Cover Two in Foxboro, which is quite different from the Tampa 2, which is more zone but with the MLB droppi

You're making stuff up.


Injuries is what derailed his career.
you’re jumping thru a lot of hoops to try to prove what ultimately are hypotheticals.

“Hard to believe”…..
”should rest on Lovie”…..
“Caserio is probably too used to”

How do you know Lovie didn’t come to Caserio and say, “he doesn’t fit, I’m sitting him, see what you can get, but I think I can do better”

How do you know other teams view Cunningham as worthy of a look? Enough to trade draft capital for?

Caserio doesn’t strike me as a guy whose married to any type of scheme. If that were the case, Kelly’s not here running BoB’s garbage set up and Lovie’s not brought in either. Would’ve made more sense to bring in Matt Patricia back over.
 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
you’re jumping thru a lot of hoops to try to prove what ultimately are hypotheticals.

“Hard to believe”…..
”should rest on Lovie”…..
“Caserio is probably too used to”

How do you know Lovie didn’t come to Caserio and say, “he doesn’t fit, I’m sitting him, see what you can get, but I think I can do better”

How do you know other teams view Cunningham as worthy of a look? Enough to trade draft capital for?

Caserio doesn’t strike me as a guy whose married to any type of scheme. If that were the case, Kelly’s not here running BoB’s garbage set up and Lovie’s not brought in either. Would’ve made more sense to bring in Matt Patricia back over.
Cunningham had 5 games in which he played 100% of the defensive snaps.


That's second among the LB corp (and only one fewer than the guy with the most games at 100%).
And that was only because of the Covid thing and the suspension.

We're not talking about the offense.
Caserio had very limited experience on the defensive side. He definitely hasn't coached the Tampa 2.
You think he'd bring Lovie in and tell him what system to run?

The bottom line is with that level of play, and a mere salary of 900K, it's extremely hard to believe that no NFL team has interest in Cunningham during the off-season, if Caserio did in fact try to shop him and get no bite.
Is there an official source that claims such a case?
 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
It would be pretty unrealistic for anyone to expect any decent return for a LB that carried a 59 PFF grade.
I don't know about others, but I'd say a guy that ranks 13th overall by PFF (though they're not the gold standard; at the least we can say that Cunningham is an average or below average LB.)

You add to that a salary below veteran minimum (900K like I said above), he's got to worth at least a low round draft pick.
 

Lucky

Trust Me. I Know What I'm Doing.
Staff member
Team full of UDFAs it is, then.
There's no one left to restructure. There will have to be a lot of young players next year. Whether Caserio likes it or not.
He’s not getting claimed. No one is taking on that contract.
Cunningham restructured his contract for this season, turning $7.5 million of salary into a signing bonus. A team that picked up Cunningham would be responsible for the remainder of his $990K salary (275K). Cunningham has no guaranteed money left if cut prior to 3/23/2022. His deal would be easy to renegotiate if a team wanted to keep him on past this year.
 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
don’t care what his PFF grade was, he wasn’t good. And once he clears waivers, you’ll get a pretty damn good idea of both what the league thinks of him as a player AND what his trade market was.
His market value is no longer as high as it would have been during the off-season because of the leaked discipline issues.

Remember, Culley himself that it wasn't because of the play on the field when was asked directly.
 

Mr teX

Hall of Fame
His market value is no longer as high as it would have been during the off-season because of the leaked discipline issues.

Remember, Culley himself that it wasn't because of the play on the field when was asked directly.
nice hedge….if he was market value and contract was as good & favorable as you say, a playoff contender or a team trying to get in wouldn’t hesitate to snatch him off waivers for a low round pick sup draft pick. But we shall see.

I don’t think the league has as high of an opinion of him as you claim. They all saw that KC game last year where CEH was making him and our defense look silly:spit:. That don’t go away easily.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
This is a strawman argument and unfair. I have yet to come across a fan who hates players or front office personnel who are devout Christians. If a devout Christian doesn't like Joel Osteen's brand of preaching, does that make them less of a Christian? Maybe some fans feel he uses religion to mask his career ambitions. Maybe some feel he should have been fired with BOB. Maybe some feel he is now the executor of the Texans worthy standard. There are other reasons besides the automatic, he is hated because he is a Christian. You know that.
Agreed

But I feel as though he gets a bad rap because of the Derrick situation and some don't care for him because he's religious.

Me personally, I would have fired him in a full house cleaning last off-season.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
Just because you keep saying that doesn't make it so. It only means you're just as uninformed today as you were when you first said it. The Texans had virtually NO dead cap money and a lot more players under contract beginning in 2021. The start of 2022 they will only have 75% of the cap available and fewer players under contract. That is much bigger problem that in less than 1 year that has been manifested by the File Clerk. The basic premise behind rebuilding is to improve your salary cap status, not destroy it!

Hoping the File Clerk gets it right is much like the pooping in the hand tale. Based on recent history of draft blunders, trade fiascos, contract restructuring, fiscal mismanagement, you should be afraid, very afraid.


They can't do what they did last year because they have less money than they did last year, fewer players under contract and don't have the players and contracts that the File Clerk can restructure. This is the MOTHER of all Death Spirals.


Starters for the Texans, yes. Starters for 31 other teams in the league, no. This is much like the University of Texas when they didn't have one player drafted in the NFL.
I'm pretty sure Caserio will be able to sign a bunch of cheap KGH/Thomas/Kirksey type guys in fa. Maybe not 30 like last year. But he will let some of last year's fa's on one yr deals walk and sign more vet minimum type fa guys.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
You can’t be serious.

Name a position on our offense that hasn’t seen shuffling.

QB - Check
RB - Check
OL - Check
TE - Check
WR - Check
QB- injury
RB- true
OL - injury
TE- injury and wanting to get a look at Jordan.
WR- injury

Point is that they haven't been shuffling Billy willy. It's been out of necessity.
 

Thorn

Dirty Old Man
QB- injury
RB- true
OL - injury
TE- injury and wanting to get a look at Jordan.
WR- injury

Point is that they haven't been shuffling Billy willy. It's been out of necessity.
True, but all teams shuffle because of injuries. That should be expected and par for the course. It's why you're supposed to have good backups. The Texans have backups for starters. LOL
 

Number19

Hall of Fame
It was O'Brien, Easterby and the Greenard pick. The Lions backed out of a trade or they couldn't complete a trade in time and had to use the pick on Greenard. In other words, they lucked into one of the best young players on the roster.

Wait, I just now snapped to it. Greenard was drafted in 2020. Caserio didn't have anything to do with the pick.

So, I'm back to Easterby and Caserio having a difference of opinion over Lopez, with Easterby winning. I heard this second hand on 610. Where this came from, ??
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Your reaching to say that on Cunningham. He was infact one the the very few players people had "some" confidence in. Worst case scenario he was a high end jag. Your Lawson McKinney comparisons weren't fair to his talent whatsoever
We're remembering things very differently. I don't remember one person excited or relieved that Cunningham was resigned. Most were upset that it happened & more upset at the amount.

I liked McKinney better. If I were going to keep one overpriced LB it would have been McKinney.


We cut a legit talent on a very bad team. Your defending the cut - so again: what is your insider info we don't know? Or are you blindly defending this move?
I'm not defending the cut, per se... I'm just saying it is not something to get worked over about. Most here wasn't happy he was on the team getting paid what he was getting paid.

We learned the Texans tries to trade him in the offseason & again at the deadline. No takers. So far not claimed off waivers.

He's been a disciplinary problem twice that we know of. They decided to cut ties. Absolutely nothing to get excited about.


And your last point about imposing wills on offense has no relevance to Cunningham. Not sure what to make of it.
My point is if we were getting rid of offensive players, or disciplining offensive players I could believe it's an issue of a rookie HC imposing his will. But since most of it is defensive players, I can't make that connection.
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
As a fanbase we lost because BOB/Easterby gae Cunningham a dumb contract.

If losing out on a 6-7th rd pick is the most stupid move made this season/offseason then I think the team is in pretty good shape
Except how many times have you said that?

Eventually they have to stop digging the hole they are in if they're ever going to get out.
 

Texian

Hall of Fame
I'm pretty sure Caserio will be able to sign a bunch of cheap KGH/Thomas/Kirksey type guys in fa. Maybe not 30 like last year. But he will let some of last year's fa's on one yr deals walk and sign more vet minimum type fa guys.
I'm pretty sure the File Clerk will be signing close to a record number of players at minimum salaries if he wants to fill out a roster. There is good news, there are no contracts the File Clerk can restructure, so that will help prevent the File Clerk from destroying future years' salary cap. The word that will best describe the 2022 Texans is UDFA.
 
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76Texan

Hall of Fame
nice hedge….if he was market value and contract was as good & favorable as you say, a playoff contender or a team trying to get in wouldn’t hesitate to snatch him off waivers for a low round pick sup draft pick. But we shall see.

I don’t think the league has as high of an opinion of him as you claim. They all saw that KC game last year where CEH was making him and our defense look silly:spit:. That don’t go away easily.
Cunningham is expected to be claimed.

There could be a hold up due to a clause in his contract about injury guarantee of some form that I don't quite understand how it works.

Other teams rumored to be interested include the Rams and the Giants.

Not to mention the Pats and a host of other possibilities:
 

Mr teX

Hall of Fame
Cunningham is expected to be claimed.

There could be a hold up due to a clause in his contract about injury guarantee of some form that I don't quite understand how it works.

Other teams rumored to be interested include the Rams and the Giants.

Not to mention the Pats and a host of other possibilities:
well if it happens, we still come away with a pick…so what’s with the fake outrage about him not being traded?
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Cunningham restructured his contract for this season, turning $7.5 million of salary into a signing bonus. A team that picked up Cunningham would be responsible for the remainder of his $990K salary (275K). Cunningham has no guaranteed money left if cut prior to 3/23/2022. His deal would be easy to renegotiate if a team wanted to keep him on past this year.
Makes absolutely no sense he hasn't been claimed by one of the top 5 teams on the waiver wire... top 6 if you exclude the Texans.

We're talking about bad teams & a guy who went to the pro bowl a couple years ago.
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
His market value is no longer as high as it would have been during the off-season because of the leaked discipline issues.

Remember, Culley himself that it wasn't because of the play on the field when was asked directly.
I'm looking at the exodus from Houston & thinking his disciplinary issues will go away once he's on a legit NFL team.
 

Mr teX

Hall of Fame
I'm looking at the exodus from Houston & thinking his disciplinary issues will go away once he's on a legit NFL team.
we said the same thing about Mallet when he was released…it was just BoB unable to handle the young talent and he’s being the little “teapot” he is. Dude was out of the league in 2 years after he left here.

fans always assume it’s the HC/FO & Most times it’s the player.
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
we said the same thing about Mallet when he was released…it was just BoB unable to handle the young talent and he’s being the little “teapot” he is. Dude was out of the league in 2 years after he left here.

fans always assume it’s the HC/FO & Most times it’s the player.
I'm just saying if I were another team this "leaked discipline" blah, blah, blah wouldn't affect my decision to grab him for cheap if I thought he was any good.
 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
well if it happens, we still come away with a pick…so what’s with the fake outrage about him not being traded?
I don't know if a waived player bring a team any draft pick.
I have no idea if they figure in the formula for compensatory picks.
....
Back to the guaranteed money, the contract as shown here shows $32.5M


The difference of some $8M is probably the portion of guarantee for injury as explained in the article on the Titans above.

As stated previously, that together with the "discipline" reason may deter some team(s).

I'd think most contenders have already spent quite a bit of their cap space that extend into next year.

The Rams, for example, may have a problem if they incur that $8M next year.


They had traded away several draft picks to acquire high profile players with the accompanied price tag; it might be prohibitive for them to put a claim in for Cunningham.
 

Speedy

Former Yeller Dweller
After earning a four-year extension negotiated between his agent, Kyle McCarthy of Athletes First, and Texans executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby and director of football administration Kevin Krajcovic, that makes him the third highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL
"We were very happy to be able to get something done,” said Texans coach and general manager Bill O’Brien, who praised McCarthy, Easterby and Krajcovic for hammering out the deal. “Zach is a really good football player, a very important part of our team. I think it was important. I think the way myself and Jack and Kevin Krajcovic and Cal (McNair) think about this is if a guy is playing well and is a really good person in the community"
"Jack Easterby did a lot of this negotiation. He works on contracts with Kevin and we work together. I would say that Jack and Zach’s representation should get a lot of the credit for getting a deal done and obviously Zach.”
 

Texansballer74

Hall of Fame
Man you guys are spot freaking on. This organization is moving in the right freaking direction. They're making great moves like they've been doing since day one. Culley and company are setting the eight type of standards in which every other team should follow. No more special treatment to any players.

Yall are spot on Cunningham was straight up trash and shouldn't have been in the league period.

So let this arm chair GM fall back in place as a MWD oilfield hand.
 


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