NFC Notes: Packers, Rams, Vikings

Packers

Rob Demovsky writes that not only should the Packers keep veteran OLB Clay Matthews, they should actually build their defensive system around him.

Demovsky points out that Matthews has appeared to reinvent himself as a more versatile player than just an edge rusher, which happens to be something new DC Mike Pettine noted in his introductory press conference.

“The first thing that jumps out is his versatility,” Pettine said. “This is a guy that can play on the edge, he can rush inside. He’s had a good season playing inside linebacker [in 2014-15], and I’ve always believed in having those versatile, hybrid-type players.

“One, a guy that can play multiple positions can give you depth so that if you have an injury … you can put a guy in, move him around,” Pettine added. “So when you have versatile guys, that adds depth. And the other thing is from an identification standpoint on the other side of the ball that they don’t clearly see, he’s always this position, that guy’s always the strong safety, that guy’s always the free. When you can move guys around and trade jobs, not just within game but week to week, because a big part of offense is identifying who the rushers are and what positions they’re playing. When you have guys like that, the creative part, you can do a lot more with those players.

Rams

  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Rams WR Tavon Austin‘s contract already guarantees him $5 million for the 2018 season in the form of a roster bonus that will be earned on March 16.
  • However, if Austin is on the Rams’ roster at that point, his $3 million 2018 base salary becomes fully guaranteed.
  • A source with knowledge of the situation tells Florio that both components of Austin’s 2018 pay include offsets, meaning that the Rams could recoup some of this money if he’s released and signs on with another team.

Vikings

Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater said that 2017 was actually his favorite season, even though he was limited to attempting two passes and spent most of the year working his way back from a major knee injury.

“It was probably my favorite season by far, even though I didn’t play much,” Bridgewater told ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “This season challenged my mindset because as bad as I wanted to be out there playing, being the competitor that I am, I wanted to go to war and go to battle with my guys, I had to be out there in a different aspect. I had to be there for the guys mentally.

“It gave me a different role and I accepted it. It was one that was hard to accept because I’m a competitor, but I wouldn’t trade this year for nothing.

We have him featured in our Top 100  – 2018 NFL Free Agents list.