An update on the Harrington-Lions situation, from http://www.mlive.com/lions/stories/index.ssf?/base/sports-1/1142593827258420.xml&coll=1
Joey Harrington is going, going -- but not gone yet.
The Detroit Lions quarterback won't be back with the team next year, but he might stay on the roster for a while. The Lions will try to salvage something out of the situation and attempt to trade Harrington -- and they might be willing to wait for the right deal.
Harrington's fate in Detroit was sealed Thursday when the Lions signed free-agent quarterback Josh McCown (Arizona Cardinals) to a two-year deal, just two days after signing free agent Jon Kitna (Cincinnati Bengals). McCown and Kitna will compete in training camp for the starting quarterback job.
Those signings squeezed Harrington out of the Lions' future plans, but Harrington played a big role in punching his own bus ticket out of town.
Harrington was so adamant about leaving the Lions that several people close to the situation believe he sabotaged his appearance at last week's "quarterback school" with new offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
During the classroom sessions, when asked to go to the board and break down plays, Harrington put forth little effort. When asked to either open his playbook or to take notes, Harrington either refused or was extremely slow to do so. He was lethargic and uncooperative. According to sources, it was quickly apparent to Martz that Harrington had no desire to be there.
After Martz and Harrington had words, Harrington went into a meeting with Lions officials and told them he didn't want to play for Detroit any longer. Harrington was so determined to leave the team that, according to sources, he said he'd be willing to restructure his contract in any way that would quicken his release.
Harrington's desire to leave the Lions was sparked not by the management or the new coaching staff, but the entire negative environment that surrounded him, including fans, media and his own teammates. According to sources, Harrington told team officials during an emotional exchange that "I hate everybody on this team and everybody hates me."
Martz, along with Lions president Matt Millen and head coach Rod Marinelli, were unavailable for comment on Thursday. Harrington is reportedly vacationing in Thailand.
The Lions begin their voluntary off-season workout schedule on Monday and Harrington is not expected to attend.
Harrington has a salary cap figure of about $12 million for this season: a $4 million roster bonus that is due on June 15, a $4.5 million salary for the 2006 season and $3.5 million in pro-rated signing bonuses (from previous seasons).
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Lions can designate Harrington as a June 1 cut, but can actually release him before that date and still benefit. In that scenario, Harrington would cost $3.5 million against the team's salary cap in both the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
However, if the Lions trade Harrington, his total cap number hits immediately and $7 million would come off Detroit's cap this season. In 2006 salary and bonuses, the Lions will pay Kitna ($4.5 million) and McCown ($4 million) about the same money they were going to pay Harrington this season.
The Lions know they aren't going to get great value for Harrington, but the team has only six draft choices this season so they're eager to add whatever they can -- even if it's late-round picks on the second day of the draft.
The Lions are in no financial hurry to deal with Harrington. The only way they'd be pressured to make a move is if they need his $4.5 million salary cap money to go to signing another free agent or when June 15 arrives, because that's when his $4 million roster bonus is due.
Harrington's offer of reducing his contract to accelerate a quicker release doesn't mean anything because the only numbers that count -- the total of $7 million in pro-rated bonuses -- can't be changed.
QB - C. Newton
WR - L. Fitzgerald
WR - S. Smith (Car)
RB - M. Turner
RB - C. Johnson
TE - A. Gates
W/R/T - B. Wells
K - S. Janikowski
DEF - NYJ
BN - M. Ryan
BN - J. Battle
BN - P. Thomas
BN - J. Ringer
BN - V. Cruz
BN - B. Pettigrew
BN - SF D