Since the draft you have probably heard me harp on the Detroit Lions not having enough cap room to sign their top draft pick Eric Ebron. Today they made the cap space needed to officially sign him by releasing CB Chris Houston just one season after signing him to a five year contract.
Houston was set to carry a $4.8 million cap charge and would have earned $3.5 million in salary for the season. Of that $3.5 million, $2 million is guaranteed for injury which may come into play since he was recovering from a football injury. There have been conflicting reports about an injury settlement that came with the release and here are the three scenarios in play:
1. The Lions could have cleared him and claim no responsibility for the $2 million guarantee. Houston would in turn file a grievance which would see $800,000 immediately count against the salary cap.
2. The Lions simply paid him the full $2 million to go away
3. The sides reached an injury settlement likely for an amount in between the $0 and $2 million. This protects Houston from fully rehabbing and then being cut and collecting nothing.
Whatever number is used it will be part of the cap charge for Houston this season. He will definitely carry a $1.3 million cap charge in 2014 and $3.9 million cap charge in 2015 from the unaccounted for prorated money from a $6.5 million signing bonus he received in 2013. If there is no settlement or grievance the Lions will have gained $3.5 million in cap space in 2014. If the injury payment was made in full they would gain $1.5 million in cap space.
Houston earned $7.5 million for the one year of his contract he played out.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.