Per ProFootballTalk.com, a failed physical was the reason the parameters of the Chris Houston trade changed. The original trade was announced as the Lions sending their 2010 6th round pick and swapping their 2010 5th round pick with the Falcons for Houston. The deal was officially announced as a 2010 6th and a conditional 2011 7th earlier this week. Why did the terms of the trade change?
According to a separate source, the Lions contacted the Falcons and said that Houston could not pass the physical imposed by Lions’ doctors. We’re told that the Lions also said that perhaps Houston could pass the physical if the terms of the deal were adjusted.
And so the terms of the deal were adjusted, and Houston passed the physical.
Though the Falcons could have scrapped the trade and kept Chris Houston, they opted to process, and they probably will be reluctant to do a deal with Detroit the next time an opportunity to do so arises.
It seems that the source is implying the Lions created leverage by leaking the trade to the media and then using the “failed” physical to force the Falcons to accept lesser compensation. Once Houston was aware of the trade, the Falcons would have a potentially disgruntled player if the trade fell through.
If that version of the story is correct, the Lions were playing dirty and it could definitely burn a bridge with the Falcons. There is a chance that Houston actually did fail the physical and the Lions were willing to do the deal, but since there was more risk they wanted to reduce the compensation. Houston was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury on December 29th, so it is possible he isn’t fully recovered yet.
Mayhew doesn’t have a reputation for underhanded dealings, so I am hesitant to believe that the Lions duped the Falcons into taking less for Houston. If more stories like this leak out, then I’ll reconsider, but for now I am giving Mayhew and the Lions the benefit of the doubt.