The Texans have finalized a bit of financial housekeeping before the NFL’s summer break.
Houston has signed linebacker Benardrick McKinney to a contract extension, the team announced Thursday. The new deal is worth $50 million over five years with $21 million guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the situation.
A second-round draft pick in 2015, McKinney has emerged as a valuable performer in Romeo Crennel’s defense, leading the team with 95 combined tackles — including a career-high 10 for loss — last season. He has recorded 282 total tackles (176 solo), 9.0 sacks, 25 tackles for loss, 21 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and three passes defensed in 46 games over the past three years.
"Bernardrick plays a key role in our defense and has been highly productive, but more importantly he is a core player who has developed into a team leader within our program," general manager Brian Gaine said in a statement released by the team. "We are excited to have him a part of our long term future here at the Texans."
A standout athlete with prototypical size, speed and durability, McKinney is one of the league’s premier run-stopping linebackers. With J.J. Watt controlling the trenches, McKinney ranging sideline-to-sideline and newly signed Tyrann Mathieu patrolling the secondary, the Texans have the luxury of star playmakers at every level of their 2018 defense.