Releasing Brian Cushing wasn’t much of a decision for the Texans. The emergence of second-year linebackers Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole made Cushing expendable, saving Houston $7.64 million against the salary cap.

But that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt the Texans to do what they did Tuesday.

The Texans think highly of Cushing, who they made a first-round pick in 2009 and who leaves as the franchise’s all-time leading tackler.