Bradie James is joining the Texans

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Free agent linebacker Bradie James won’t be back with the Cowboys, but he won’t have to get used to life in a new state.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that James will sign with the Houston Texans for the 2012 season. He’ll be reunited with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who was the head coach of the Cowboys for four of James’ nine years with the Cowboys.

Brian Cushing is secure at one inside linebacker spot for the Texans, but there’s an opening alongside him after Houston traded DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles. James and Daryl Sharpton should compete for the job and James’ familiarity with Phillips’ system means that he won’t have any learning curve to deal with before making a bid for playing time.

James’ production dropped sharply last season after five straight years with more than 100 tackles. He started 13 games, but rotated out more often and seemed to have lost a step from his previous campaigns. A return to a familiar system could help him recover a bit of what he seemed to lose last year or he could just be on the wrong side of his career trajectory.