Texans waive LB Zach Cunningham after missing COVID-19 test, discipline issues

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(SportsRadio 610) - The Texans are waiving linebacker Zach Cunningham just a over a year into his contract extension.

Houston Chronicle and SportsRadio 610 insider John McClain reports the Texans are placing Cunningham on waivers Wednesday, despite his $9 million salary this year.

Cunningham, who was a second-round draft pick by the Texans in 2017, signed a four-year, $58-million extension in the 2020 offseason.

With his contract restructured this past offseason, Cunningham has a base salary of $990,000, which is about $275,000 remaining plus his $147,060 per-game roster bonus. There is also a $10 million injury guarantee attached to Cunningham's contract, per TexansCap.

Cunningham has been among the AFC tackling leaders the past two seasons.

But with new management and coaching staff this year, Cunningham fell out of favor. He was benched twice this season for disciplinary reasons, the most recent this past Sunday's loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts.

The Chronicle reported Cunningham was held from the Colts game because he missed a COVID-19 test.

"We've got standards and we didn't feel those standards were met," Texans head coach David Culley said Wednesday. "So we made the best decision for the team."

When asked if disciplinary issues on the team were at all reflective of leadership, Culley said it was more about players not doing what team leadership wants done.

"It has nothing to do with production," Culley said. It has something to do strictly with not meeting our standards."

Meanwhile, the Texans have been impressed with newcomers Christian Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill as their leaders among linebackers.