DETROIT, March 14 (UPI) -- The Detroit Lions continued to revamp their receiving corps Thursday, releasing veteran Johnnie Morton and plucking free agent Bill Schroeder from the NFC Central Division-rival Green Bay Packers.
The Lions terminated Morton's contract rather than paying him a $1 million bonus that would have counted against the team's 2002 salary cap. The eight-year veteran also would have been paid a reported $5 million next season, although team spokesman Bill Keenist left open the possibilty of re-signing Morton.
"We terminated the contract of Johnnie Morton today. By doing so, it helped us reach agreements with three players," Keenist said. "We also believe this will aid in the potential to sign Johnnie to a longer term deal.
"Matt (team president Matt Millen) and Marty (coach Marty Mornhinweg) both indicated to Johnnie and his agent, David Dunn, that we still want him back."
In the meantime, the Lions were able to sign Schroeder and re-sign safety Lamar Campbell and guard Matt Joyce.
Schroeder, 31, ranked second in the NFL last season in average yards per catch at 17.3. He grabbed 53 passes for 918 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns.
A 1994 sixth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Schroeder spent two seasons on the Packers' practice squad and another on injured reserve with the New England Patriots before returning to Green Bay, where he played the last five years.
Schroeder joins Az-Zahir Hakim, an unrestricted free agent who signed a five-year, $16 million contract with Detroit a week ago. In addition, injury-plagued veteran Herman Moore recently restructured his contract but is expected to be released after June 1. Wideout Germane Crowell is a free agent.