Making sense of the QB picture
What did we learn about the Lions' quarterback situation today?
Daunte Culpepper is the heavy (but lighter than he was last year) favorite to start next season. He restructured his contract earlier this month to defer and split up the $2.5-million bonus he was due next week, but general manager Martin Mayhew said Culpepper has lost weight and looks great and will be in the mix for the starting job next year.
The Lions have not decided to cut Jon Kitna yet, but that seems like a matter of time. Kitna is due a $1-million bonus next month. The Lions haven't asked him to delay that payment and don't think he'd agree to anyway. For now, Kitna's on the roster as insurance and the Lions are exploring their trade options.
If something came up where we had an opportunity to trade Jon and there was value for us we would certainly look into it, Mayhew said.
The Lions have exchanged contract proposals with unrestricted free agent Dan Orlovsky, but they consider him a backup who might or might not get an opportunity to start (depending on what other quarterbacks are on the roster, most likely).
That's how I see him and I told Dan when I talked to him, the best player will play, Mayhew said. You come in here and you're the best player at quarterback that can helps us win football games, you'll start. But he's been a backup his whole career and I'm not sure he'll go out in the market and he'll get starter money out there on the market.
Drew Stanton, a second-round pick two years ago, is a developmental prospect with little chance to start in 2009, though Mayhew hasn't written him off publicly. Drew Henson, however, might have played his last snap as a Lion as he didn't garner a mention during Mayhew's breakfast with beat writers Friday.
We have four quarterbacks, Mayhew said. Two of them have been starters in the league and have been effective, two of them have been backups in the league. And if they're all under contract then those two guys have an opportunity to be our starter.
The Lions are doing their homework on all the quarterbacks in the draft. They had dinner with Matt Stafford, lunch with Mark Sanchez and have met or will meet with others like Josh Freeman and Rhett Bomar.
It seems clear the direction they want to go Culpepper as starter, a rookie in the mix and either Stanton or Orlovsky as the backup but Mayhew insists those decisions are still being made.
That's what the dialogue is about, it's about how we view that position and what the best composition of guys to make up that position as we go into training camp and into next season, he said. And there are a number of different options there. We could have Daunte as the starter, we could have Jon as the starter. We could have Daunte and Jon compete. You could have Daunte and Jon and Dan compete. You could have Daunte and Dan compete. You could have Jon and Dan compete.
So that's what we're talking about and it's an important decision and we don't have to make a decision. Everybody wants to know what's going to happen now, but we don't have to make a decision.