Schroeder signs with Lions

Bill Schroeder may get a chance to start at wide receiver after all, but for the Detroit Lions. Schroeder agreed to a four-year deal with the Lions Thursday soon after Detroit released wide receiver Johnnie Morton.<p>

Morton, a seven-year starter for the Lions, was due a $1 million roster bonus today, but his release gave the Lions about $2.8 million in salary cap money. He would have counted $5.3 million against the salary cap this year if the Lions kept him.

With the extra cap room Detroit not only agreed to a deal with Schroeder on Thursday, but also re-signed safety Lamar Campbell and offensive tackle Matt Joyce. Both were unrestricted free agents.

Schroeder has started at wide receiver the past three seasons for the Packers, averaging nearly 1,000 yards a season. But his production has declined. Since catching 74 passes in 1999, he dropped to 65 in 2000 and 53 last year. He averaged 17.3 yards a catch last year and caught a career-high nine touchdown passes.

But he fell out of favor with Green Bay and probably would have been competing for a No. 3 receiver position this year as the Packers revamp their receiving corp. Newly acquired Terry Glenn and second-year pro Robert Ferguson are currently the projected starters, though, it remains to be seen if the Packers will pursue Morton.

Schroeder, 31, was with the Packers for seven seasons, but on the active roster for five seasons. He was on the practice squad in 1994 and '96. In 1995 he was traded to New England in the preseason, then suffered a broken bone in his foot and spent the rest of the season on injured reserve.

Schroeder, a Sheboygan, Wis., native who went to Wisconsin-La Crosse, finished his Packers career with 225 catches for 3,435 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Schroeder is the second Packers wide receiver to leave the team this week. Corey Bradford signed a three-year deal worth $5.25 million on Sunday with the expansion Houston Texans. Schroeder is the first starter of Green Bay's unrestricted free agents to depart this season. The Packers also lost return specialist Allen Rossum (Atlanta Falcons) on Wednesday.


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