Hargreaves signed with the Texans in November after he was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he was benched during a game. After that game, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Hargreaves "didn't look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle."
Hargreaves could have stayed in Houston under his fifth-year option worth $9.6 million, but there was no dead money on the contract because the option is guaranteed for injury only before the start of the new league year in March.
In his end-of-season news conference, Texans coach Bill O'Brien said he thought Hargreaves "made the best of" his opportunity to join Houston during the season.
"I don't think that's easy to be able to come in, in the middle of a season, and really later than that, and play that nickel position is not easy," O'Brien said. "So, I give a lot of credit to Vernon. There's a lot of things that he's going to work hard to improve upon. We're going to help them with that, but I think Vernon stepped into a tough situation and really made the best of it."
Hargreaves, 24, was drafted by Tampa Bay with the No. 11 overall pick in 2016. In 41 career games, the Florida product has two interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 186 tackles.