The Carolina Panthers officially released veteran linebacker Justin Houston following a challenging season with the team he joined earlier this year following his time in Baltimore as a member of the Ravens.
Houston, who entered waivers on Tuesday, "wants to play again this season," Adam Schefter of ESPN reported, "but only for a contender."
Houston, who is in his 13th year in the NFL, had nothing to do with a putrid Panthers team that is 2-12 and closer to finishing the year as the worst team across the league rather than anything else.
The veteran has spent time on Injured Reserve but there have been some whispers out there speaking of his potential activation being delayed while he and the Panthers ironed out a breakup.
It's believed that the linebacker could have graced the field one or two weeks ago, although none of the two parties were truly interested in risking a setback, instead preferring to part ways in a healthy way.
Houston has been sidelined since Nov. 4 and as it's been the case with other veterans, such as tight end Zach Ertz (then of the Arizona Cardinals) he is eager to play again this season only if he gets signed by a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Do you know which franchise is looking like that type of title-winning team? Your Baltimore Ravens.
As reported by Field Yates of ESPN, Houston will only cost whoever claims him off waivers $194K for the remainder of the season as he was signed to a minimum deal by the Panthers which the franchise made fatter thanks to a $4.835 million signing bonus.
Houston's career achievements are much gaudier than his 2023 production (a meager 0.5 sacks, two tackles for a loss, and three QB hits in seven games played), including being a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro. That said, his experience is never something to pass on at that cheap price and the Ravens should do everything they can to try and get him for the regular season and the playoffs.
Just last season playing for the Baltimore Ravens, Houston led the Flock in sacks with 9.5. If you haven't noticed, this year's Ravens lead the league with 50 team sacks while led by edge rushers Kyle Van Noy and Jadeveon Clowney. Those two, just in case, are seasoned veterans who were signed as bargain-price free agents earlier this year. I guess by now you know where this is going, don't you?
A unit comprised of Odafe Oweh, Kyle Van Noy, Jadeveon Clowney, and Justin Houston would be a huge menace for the league, and most importantly, stop the San Francisco 49ers on their tracks come Christmas Night and the matchup at California between Ravens and Niners.
The Flock can still earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a postseason bye even by losing next Monday's game, but who wouldn't like to beat the other 11-3 team in the NFL and the potential Super Bowl opponent if both franchises reach the final game of the campaign? I, for one, know that I'd love it.
Even more, if Houston is the one sacking Brock Purdy to the ground.