Joey Harrington signs and is practicing with team

The Detroit Lions hopes for upward movement in the NFC North division depending, in large part, to the play of several rookies. Early this morning, Detroit got a deal done with its top pick, University of Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington after a brief holdout.

Lionsfans.com reporter Mike Fowler has learned that Joey Harrington has just signed a contract with the Lions and is practicing this morning. Sixth-round pick Chris Cash has also signed a new contract.

(ALLEN PARK, MI)-- Harrington got it done. Joey Harrington was admant that he didn't want to be a long term holdout and he was not. Lionsfans.com has learned that Harrington has signed a contract with the Lions with conflicting reports of a four or six-year deal.

Following Harrington's signing, second-round pick Kalimba Edwards, a defensive end from South Carolina and sixth-round pick Chris Cash, a cornerback from Southern California, also agreed to terms.

Harrington's presence in camp was a must. Detroit needs the University of Oregon standout to be a major contributor this season. It was thought that both sides were close to a deal two days ago. At that point, David Dunn, Harrington's agent based in Newport Beach, CA, flew to Detroit to conclude negotiations.

But then came word last night that North Carolina standout Julius Peppers, the second overall player drafted in 2002 and just ahead of Harrington, had inked a reported seven-year $50 million contract with the Panthers.

What effect this had on negotiations is unclear, but it is common practice for quarterbacks to get a larger contract than position players drafted just ahead of them. Whether this is what Harrington's agent is looking for or not is unknown, but no doubt, it will effect the negotiations.

Early this morning, the deal was finalized and Harrington was in camp.

For years, despite denials, NFL teams have used a practice called "slotting" to determine the salaries of their college draft picks. Take the value of the player selected just in front and just behind your guy and split the difference.

Now the NFL also has put in place a rookie "pool" or allocation of the teams' respective salary cap. Detroit must fit all of their draft picks into that pool. It is common practice for the team to sign the lower round picks to lowball contracts first, then divvy up the big slice of the pool for the higher rated picks.

The Lions need Edwards to make an impact at left defensive end, opposite Robert Porcher. With veteran Tracy Scroggins retired, Detroit needs to establish a rush from the other side to prevent double teams of Porcher.

Cash likely is penciled in as the teams dime package corner. With more and more NFL teams sending out four and even five receiver sets, the dime backs become more important than years ago. Cash needs to be ready to play.

Then there's Harrington. Harrington is THE guy Detroit is pinning their future hopes upon. Yes, Mike McMahon will likely get the start out of training camp, but even that isn't etched in stone. Marty Mornhinweg has the quickest trigger finger wast of Steve Spurrier in Washington.

If McMahon doesn't light up Ford Field, look for Harrington to get a shot early. Harrington knows it. He has been working hard to claim what he thinks is his job. Little wonder that Harrington is in on time and ready to claim the starting position.


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