By Chris Burke
March 13, 2013

Chris Houston Detroit Lions NFL Free AgencyChris Houston has eight interceptions over three seasons with Detroit. (Paul Sancya/AP)

Chris Houston may not be in the same elite cornerback class as Richard Sherman or a healthy Darrelle Revis. To the Detroit Lions, though, his presence in the secondary means everything.

And so, the Lions can breathe a sigh of relief now after agreeing to a new five-year deal with Houston, who was an unrestricted free agent for less than 24 hours. Houston's agent confirmed the deal via Twitter.

The Lions could be in for a busy Wednesday, with running back Reggie Bush and safety Glover Quin reportedly visiting the team's facilities. Keeping Houston still loomed as the top priority, following a season in which he was far and away Detroit's best cornerback.

Houston broke up six passes and picked off three last season, while almost exclusively covering the opposition's top receiver. He should retain that role for Detroit next year, though the Lions still could consider a cornerback -- likely Alabama's Dee Milliner -- with the No. 5 overall pick in the draft. Detroit selected two CBs in the 2012 draft: Jonte Green and Bill Bentley.

A deep free-agent class at cornerback may have worked against Houston's interest in testing the market, though he now will help set the bar for others at his position. The lengthy five-year deal for the 28-year-old Houston should help Detroit spread out his cap hit.

Houston is only step one in Detroit's offseason plans, but it was an important step nonetheless.

Grade: B-plus. Sean Smith Brent Grimes

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