Now the Lions have released him.
Detroit announced the move Friday, with four years remaining on his deal and $5.2 million of dead money still sitting on the table. All this for a guy who the Lions had counted on to finally solve their cornerback woes when they inked him to the long-term deal.
Houston had injury issues in 2013, culminating with a toe injury that never really healed, and ended up with him having surgery earlier this offseason. He was a no-show during OTAs and the team's mandatory minicamp earlier this week. The release, though, did not come with an injury settlement.
"Chris Houston underwent a significant medical procedure this spring," the Lions said in a statement. "Both parties felt that the best course of action at this time is to release Chris and allow him to rehabilitate his injury away from the Club. The Lions appreciate Chris' contributions over the years and wish him the best in his recovery."
When asked about Houston on Tuesday, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Houston was excused and where he was supposed to be. The reasoning has now become clear -- the Lions did not have him in their long-term plans at cornerback.
Houston was set to make $4.8 million against the cap this season, almost four times as much as the next highest-paid cornerback on the Lions against the cap this year.
The former second-round pick from Arkansas spent the past four seasons with Detroit after coming over from Atlanta. Last season, he played 12 games and had 44 tackles and two interceptions. In his career, he has played 99 games, made 370 tackles and intercepted 13 passes.
While it is not clear how the Lions will divvy up the dead money still on the cap for Houston, making the move did give the team enough room to sign first-round draft pick Eric Ebron earlier Friday.