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 is very similar to the one signed by Jon Kitna on Wednesday, a $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.
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 2002. 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 Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints are among a slew of teams interested in Harrington's services.
With Harrington off the books, Detroit would immediatey gain nearly $10 million in cap cash. According to 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 addition free-agents, which the Lions have been reluctant to do.
Harrington's career in Detroit, meanwhile, could be easily summed up as 'tumultuous'.
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.
However, as Mornhinweg was jettisoned for Steve Mariucci, a head coach that never gave Harrington public support, he never blossomed.
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.