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2020 NFL Schedule: Houston Texans

Zach Cunningham was just rewarded with generational wealth by the Houston Texans, landing a huge extension only two weeks ahead of the 2020 regular season. The 25-year-old has made quite the name for himself on a Houston defensive front that boasts names like J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, which is not exactly an easy feat. The team has now reportedly agreed to terms on a deal with Cunningham to make sure he stays put for the foreseeable future, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, worth $14.5 million on average per season.

The deal is being reported as a four-year extension worth $58 million total, per John McClain of The Houston Chronicle. That locks Cunningham in through the 2024 season, by virtue of 2020 being the final year of his rookie deal that would’ve paid him just $4.47 million — had it met its expiration next offseason. Instead, the Texans retain one of the best defensive talents on their roster, and Cunningham gets both a big payday and job security going forward.

A former First-Team All-American and First-Team All-SEC talent out of Vanderbilt, the Texans saw a ton of upside in Cunningham in the 2017 NFL Draft, leading them to give him the nod with the 57th-overall pick. He’d go on to start in 13 games as a rookie, and deliver 90 combined tackles, six pass break ups, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble that year. He’s improved each year at the NFL level, logging more starts and more tackles each season, culminating in a career-best tally of 142 combined tackles in 2019 — also a team-high by a monstrous 41 tackle difference — and he added two sacks for good measure.

Cunningham instantly jumps from the 111th-highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL — per — to the 10th, and the Texans avoid having to negotiate with him on the open market in March.


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