Instant Analysis – Brian Cushing suspended 4 games by the NFL

Ken KellyContributor IIIMay 8, 2010

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 13:  Linebacker Brian Cushing #56 of the Houston Texans reacts against the Seattle Seahawks at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The truth has finally come out.  For years, it was rumored that Brian Cushing was involved in PEDs, and now he’s tested positive for a banned substance.  At first glance, you may think his suspension isn’t that big of a deal.  While the long-term outlook with Cushing is still bright, his owners in shallow IDP leagues are going to need to do some unexpected maneuvering this Summer.

Short Term Strategy
Cushing is much too valuable to release.  With 133 tackles and 4 sacks in his rookie year, he’d be snatched up in a second.  It looks like the Texans are going to move Zac Diles to Cushing’s spot and bring in Xavier Adibi to join DeMeco Ryans and Co. At first glance, the move you may be pondering is to pick up Diles or Adibi to replace Cushing on your roster now as they’re both likely available. I’d let some other coach do that.  In fact, I wouldn’t pick up ANY LB right now.  If this was September, that would be a viable move. Fact is, there are likley 10-15 LBs out there on your wire who could give you the same type of production that Diles or Adibi could.

The short-term play is to use a roster spot to add an offensive player through the draft or FA, instead of a LB. Spend the next few months evaluating your young projects, then drop one right before the season for a replacement LB.  Fact is, the next few months are too valuable to leave any young prospects with upside on the wire in place of a bench-level D player.  The preseason always gives us some surprises.  Planning too far ahead to fix this problem could leave you missing out on other opportunities, like having one of those preseason gems already rostered.

Long Term Strategy
I’d simply hold tight with Cushing.  Perhaps this is the shot in the arm (no pun intended) that he needed to clean up his act.  He’s not going to dissolve like a Shrinky Dink, so I wouldn’t expect his long-term production too, either.  If you have issues with his character now, I’d certainly wait until his suspension was over until I made any moves.  You’ll get pennies on the dollar today.

Like so many young athletes, Brian Cushing has made a serious mistake.  There are long and short term issues to consider as a Cushing owner.  You need to be wise about the decisions you make at this point, just as he does.