The Houston Texans won't have to worry about who's playing inside linebacker for them for years to come.

The Texans hammered out a six-year contract extension worth $55.64 million, including $21 million guaranteed.

Cushing was heading into the last year of his rookie deal.

A former first-round pick from USC, Cushing has been named to the Pro Bowl twice.

When he was hurt last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the defense suffered.

Cushing has recorded 238 career tackles and 9 1/2 sacks.

The Texans didn't have a ton of salary-cap room, but created more by restructuring star wide receiver Andre Johnson's existing deal. The Texans lowered Johnson's $10.5 million base salary to $5 million with $5.5 million now paid through bonuses.

That allowed the Texans to lock up a key defensive centerpierce.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.