Houston, 30, spent his first seven years with the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions before toe surgery sidelined him for the entire 2014 season. He hasn't been with a team since he was released by Detroit almost exactly one year ago.
The 5-foot-11, 178-pounder has played in 101 career games with 93 starts, including the playoffs. He has 13 career interceptions.
Houston began his career with the Falcons as a second-round draft pick out of Arkansas in 2007. He joined Detroit in 2010 and later re-upped with the Lions with a five-year, $25 million contract in 2013. But he battled injuries throughout that season and eventually opted for the toe surgery in May 2014. His release was reportedly a mutual decision.
Houston will compete for a roster spot in Carolina behind projected starters Josh Norman and Charles Tillman and projected nickelback Bene' Benwikere. The Panthers had just signed Skinner earlier in June.