Harrington Prepares for the Open Market

With the Lions signing their second quarterback in as many days, Josh McNown on Thursday and Jon Kitna on Tuesday, the future for quarterback Joey Harrington becomes an interesting dilemma for the Kansas City Chiefs who are rumored to be interested in the Detroit quarterback.

ALLEN PARK - The move that everyone saw coming finally materialized Thursday afternoon, as the Detroit Lions signed former Arizona Cardinals quarterback and unrestricted free agent Josh McCown, all but ending the Joey Harrington era in Detroit.

The deal McCown signed today was very similar to the one Kitna agreed to on Wednesday, both deals are reported to be $6 million deal that will span two years and includes a $2 million signing bonus.

Kitna signed a four-year, $10 million deal with a $3.5 million signing bonus. The two will join Harrington, second-year quarterback Dan Orlovsky and former Cardinal Shaun King on the roster. Harrington, though, will not be on that list for very long.

Scout.com's Roar Report was told yesterday by a source close to the situation that Harrington, the No. 3 overall pick in 2002, had informed the organization that he was unsure of whether or not he wanted to remain in Detroit. Contrary to published reports, he had yet to make up his mind.

Apparently, the Lions did the honors for him.

If and when Harrington is removed from the roster, McCown and Kitna will battle it out for the opportunity to win the starting quarterback position.

McCown, who will turn 27 on July 4, joined the league as a third round pick by Arizona in 2001. The athletically gifted quarterback measures in at 6-4, 213, a similar build to Harrington but with a gunslinger mentality.

McCown has a career quarterback rating of 72.1, but in place of starter Kurt Warner during the Cardinals last two games in 2005, he completed 72 percent of his throws (58/80 for 591 yards, 2 TD', 1 INT) for a 91 quarterback rating.

Roar Report has also learned that the Lions are still attempting to shop Harrington's services, but if no suitors can be found (most are aware that the Lions will likely release him), then he could be given his walking papers either this weekend or Monday at the latest.

The Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs appear to be the front-runners Harrington's services.

Last August Harrington's name made news in Kansas City as the Chiefs inquired about the availability of the Lions quarterback. According to a report in Detroit, Kansas City was prepared to send a paid of mid round draft picks for the teams disgruntled quarterback.

Both the Chiefs and the Lions denied the talks and Harrington ended up starting the season as the team top quarterback when Jeff Garcia went down with an injury in the final exhibition game.

Kansas City recently signed CFL standout Casey Printers to a three year deal last month and on Thursday re-signed Damon Huard to a one-year deal. Last season's back-up Todd Collins signed a deal with the Redskins.

The Chiefs have been public in their praise about Harrington. In fact, if the Lions had not taken Harrington with the #3 overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft, Kansas City would have selected him despite acquiring Trent Green.

With Harrington off the books, Detroit would immediately gain nearly $10 million in cap cash. According to Roar Reports insider Mike Fowler, "A new provision in the collective bargaining agreement allows a team to release a player and not take the accelerated portion of his signing bonus hit the salary cap until the following season."

This would allow the team even more cap room to maneuver and actively sign additional free-agents, which the Lions have been reluctant to do.

For the Chiefs they recently expanded their cap war chest when they tore up All-Pro Guard Will Shields 2006 deal and signed him to a more cap friendly contract for the coming season.

At last count the Chiefs have nearly $12 million in available cap space. They appear to be holding out for one or two of the premier free agents still on the market.

Kansas City attempted to sign Seawhawks defensive tackle Rocky Bernard but Seattle retained him on Thursday. They still are in the Terrell Owens sweepstakes and continue to show a strong desire to land either cornerback Ty Law or Charles Woodson. However, that won't happen until their salary demands decrease.

The Chiefs have never developed a young quarterback in the Carl Peterson era and eventually this team has to look for someone to take over for Trent Green who will be 37 this season.

Harrington's career in Detroit, meanwhile, could be easily summed up as 'tumultuous'. He clearly wants a fresh start. But the question Joey Harrington has to ask himself is if he's willing to come to Kansas City and be an understudy for a year or two until Trent Green retires.

After replacing second-year quarterback Mike McMahon early in the 2002 season, Harrington's inaugural campaign under head coach Marty Mornhinweg only witnessed three wins, but the former Oregon signal caller demonstrated promise.

In the three years since, Harrington has accumulated a 68.1 passer rating, among the lowest of NFL starting quarterbacks. He won just 16 games, losing 48 as the starter, completing 60 touchdowns versus 62 interceptions.

Stay tuned to Warpaint Illustrated for the latest on the Chiefs pursuit of Joey Harrington.

This report was complied and written by Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) and Nate Caminata (Roar Report).

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