After his refusal to speak to the media on Friday (citing his inability to remain "honest"), Lions quarterback Jon Kitna is now in the midst of trade rumors.
The rumor mill began churning even quicker following head coach Rod Marinelli's Monday press briefing, in which he declined to speak about the team's quarterback situation until Wednesday.
Interestingly, Wednesday is the day following the league's trade deadline -- but it's also the next scheduled media session between Marinelli and the press.
Kitna has been publicly and privately unhappy with the situation in Detroit, and has been since early in the season.
According to one source close to the situation, it started when his mentor -- former offensive coordinator Mike Martz -- was fired following the 2007 campaign. Martz was replaced by Jim Colletto, who has struggled mightily to muster any kind of offense despite the many weapons available.
Kitna managed just 758 yards through three and a half games this year, including five touchdowns and five interceptions, before his back injury sidelined him during the team's loss to Chicago. Sunday's 12-10 loss to Minnesota was the first time in 36 games that Kitna has failed to start.
Below is a breakdown of the most realistic (and rumored) Kitna trade partners:
- San Francisco 49ers: Martz's name has appeared on Kitna's trade radar, and in theory, it makes sense. With the recent struggles of 49er starter J.T. O'Sullivan (he has tossed four touchdowns versus seven interceptions in the past three games), there is rumored interest in Kitna rejoining Martz. The two were explosive together in Detroit, as Kitna tallied over 8,000 passing yards in last two years.
The problem? San Francisco's problems don't begin and end with O'Sullivan. The 49ers are the most sacked team in the league, and Martz has fallen back into his bad habit of giving up on the run.
- New England Patriots: Bill Belichick's patience with Matt Cassel probably won't last through the week. The Patriots are still a talented football team, but the absence of a seasoned quarterback is crippling the team's entire season. Cassel has posted just a 78.1 rating en route to a dubious and misleading 3-2 start, including Sunday's embarrassing loss to San Diego.
Along with an unacceptable offense by New England standards, Belichick would not hesitate to bring in a veteran quarterback to challenge and perhaps supplant Cassel, and Kitna -- behind an offensive line that can protect -- would be ideal in New England's system.
- Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo's injury will keep him out for a month, and Dallas needs a spark offensively. The Cowboys have all the tools available to a quarterback, and Kitna would not need to over-exert himself or force things. This seems like the most realistic trade partner for Detroit, and one rumor -- mentioned by local Detroit writer Terry Foster -- already has a Kitna/Roy Williams package to Dallas for left tackle Flozell Adams and the Cowboys' No. 1 pick in next April's draft.
One league source said the most realistic trade involving Kitna is for an undisclosed (i.e. late-round) or conditional draft pick.