The New York Giants need linebackers. I think anyone who follows the Giants and understands their importance to a defense coordinated by James Bettcher knows that. Brian Cushing happens to be a linebacker and he happens to be on the market after the Houston Texans released him this week.
That means we probably should talk the nine-year veteran, who will be 31 next season.
There are really two questions with Cushing. Check that, make it three. Is he still any good? After an injury-riddled career marred by two PED suspensions can he be trusted? Could he help the Giants, even in some type of limited capacity?
Cushing was an impact player early in his career. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2009 and had 125 tackles and four sacks in 2011. He hasn’t really been that guy in a long time. He has only four sacks total in the last six years, and made only eight tackles in five games last season.
#Texans releasing Brian Cushing no surprise. When not suspended last year, he didn't look like the same guy on film. Burst gone, playmaking absent.— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) February 19, 2018
I've never covered a tougher player than Brian Cushing. Last year, he told me he had undergone surgery more than 20 times since he was the first-round pick in 2009.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) February 19, 2018
The surgeries and the PED suspensions tell you just how much Cushing has been willing to sacrifice throughout his career. If he still wants to play, could he help the linebacker-needy Giants?
It honestly doesn’t seem likely that Cushing has a lot left to give. In my view, the Giants should be looking for young, athletic ones with the potential to be long-term solutions at a traditional position of weakness. Not aging players hanging on to their careers who might be short-term stop-gaps.