USA Today Sports Images

Locker: The Five Biggest Reactions To Benardrick McKinney's New Contract

Will McKinney Return To His 2016 Form?

In The Loop
June 14, 2018 - 9:13 pm

The Texans announced earlier tonight they have signed linebacker Benardrick McKinney to a contract extension worth $50 million over five years with $21 million guaranteed, which isn't surprising given the fact that first-year GM Brian Gaine hinted this was going to happen as soon as he took the job. Here are the five biggest immediate reactions to McKinney's extension courtesy of Landry Locker of In The Loop.


Reaction No. 1: Clowney Is Next

We are about six weeks away from the start of training camp and it's a foregone conclusion that Jadeveon Clowney will get his extension before then. In fact, don't be surprised if it doesn't happen sooner rather than later. Clowney is going to get paid and he is going to get paid A LOT.


Reaction No. 2: Is McKinney worth the money?

This is the question everyone asks when an athlete gets a contract, is he worth it?

Is McKinney going to reemerge as the guy Texans fans saw in 2016 when he had 129 tackles and five sacks? Or, was his dropoff in production in 2017 a sign of a decline?

You can whipe away McKinney's 2017 season and chalk it up to all the injuries the Texans suffered on defense. Linebackers play better when they have good players playing in front of them. McKinney didn't have good players playing in front of him in 2017, at least not many, and he struggled. He Had good players playing in front of him in 2016 and was good. 


Reaction No. 3: With More Money Comes The Expectation To Fill The Cush Void

More money often comes with more responsibility. For nine years Brian Cushing was the leader of the Texans inside linebacking core, but he's gone now, finally. The other inside linebackers expected to contribute 2018, including second-year linebackers Dylan Cole and Zach Cunningham, are younger than McKinney, which means he will likely be expected to replace Cushing as the leader of the Texans ILB's.


Reaction No. 4: A Historical Moment In Texans History

NFL general managers are graded by the coaches they hire, the players they draft, the players they sign and the contract extensions they hand out. This is first-year GM Brian Gaine's first significant contract extension and talking heads like myself with judge it years down the line.


Reaction No. 5: Could The Texans Have One Of The Best Linebacking Cores In The NFL In 2018?

McKinney's position group will make his job easier and allow him to do what he did in 2016 because the Texans have a lot of talent at linebacker.

Whitney Mercilus is returning from injury, J.D. Clowney is coming off the best season of his career and Dylan Cole and Zach Cunningham gained valuable experience and showed a lot of promise during the 2017 season, which has many people, including myself, expecting big things from the duo of second-year inside linebackers.

It's not far-fetched to say that IF healthy the Texans will have one of the best linebacking groups in the NFL in 2018.


Listen to Landry Locker on In The Loop with Fred, Landry and Lopez Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm, email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @landrylocker.