Jon Kitna's Long-Term Status with Lions in Question

As mentioned previously, there were rumors that Jon Kitna was going to be traded to the 49ers before the deadline yesterday.  Those rumors never became a reality, because San Francisco did not have interest in making a trade.  No team did, which makes sense since Kitna went right to the injured reserve after the trade deadline passed.

The fact that the Lions were reportedly trying to move Kitna tells me that his status with the team is definitely in question.  With him being out for the rest of this season, it seems like the Lions are starting to move on, whether it is with Dan Orlovsky, Drew Stanton, or perhaps someone else.  Orlovsky and Stanton will both likely get playing time throughout the remainder of the season, and in the offseason the Lions can re-evaluate their quarterback situation and decide what to do from there.

Another signal that the Lions are moving on is that Kitna was placed on the injured reserve.  According to Kitna, he was healthy enough to play against the Vikings, but it was the Lions that told him he wouldn't be traveling with the team.  Whenever a player is moved to the IR without actually being hurt for the rest of the season, it is very telling.  It's obvious that the Lions wanted to shut Kitna down for the year to give his backups a chance to show what they're made of.  If things don't go well, then Kitna may still be around next year, but honestly, my guess is that he is no longer a Lion when this team goes to camp next summer.

General manager Martin Mayhew didn't really elaborate on the topic, but he basically said that no decision regarding Kitna's long-term future will be made until 2009.

>> On whether it’s possible that they would reach a settlement with Kitna and then release him
“No, no. Actually we’re not, no, no. He’s under contract for next year, and we’ll talk about next year, next year.”

There was some speculation that the Lions were simply going to release Kitna this season if they couldn't trade him, but Mayhew emphatically stated that no move like that would happen.

"There's no chance of that happening,'' Mayhew said. "Zero chance.''

As far as what will happen with Kitna, only time will tell.  Before I can even say whether or not he should be back, I need to see what Orlovsky and Stanton do the rest of the season.  If neither learns with more playing time nor leads the Lions to a win, then obviously Kitna should be kept around since he's the only starting-caliber QB on the team.  However, if Orlovsky or Stanton shows that he can start in this league, it probably would be best to just part ways with Kitna and bring in some other veteran to be the team's backup.  I have my doubts that any starting quarterbacks are currently on the Lions' roster right now, even if I include Kitna, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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