NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

  • Per the Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain, Bears GM Ryan Pace said they made the decision to cut TE Trey Burton because of his health: “We wish him nothing but the best of luck. He had a good first year for us. Unfortunately for him and for us, the injuries added up.”
  • Pace didn’t say whether the Bears had made a decision on the fifth-year option for QB Mitchell Trubisky, adding they have until May 4 to decide and the draft was a bigger priority: “We will cross that bridge once we get through this weekend.” (Brad Biggs)
  • Pace acknowledged the Bears would consider drafting a quarterback this week if the player was the best one available on their board. (Jeff Dickerson)
  • Regarding the hole at right guard left by the retirement of Kyle Long, Pace feels good about Germain Ifedi and Rashaad Coward at that spot: “We really like where Coward’s heading and his future. We’re very optimistic about that. Especially him being raw and converting from defensive line. And then getting Ifedi was big for us. We liked him coming out. Juan Castillo is very high on him.” (Fishbain)
  • Pace said you can never have too many corners or pass rushers. (Biggs)
  • The Bears signed K Ramiz Ahmed to challenge K Eddy Pineiro this summer for the kicking job. (Dan Wiederer)
  • Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet wasn’t able to do a facility visit but he has talked with the Bears via video conference. (Adam Hoge)
  • Appalachian State RB Darrynton Evans has video conferenced with the Colts. (Justin Melo)
  • A high-ranking Bears official loves Alabama CB Trevon Diggs. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Mississippi State LB Willie Gay Jr. had a visit scheduled with the Bears before the shutdown. (Aaron Wilson)

Lions

  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says he doesn’t get the sense the Lions have been wowed by the offers for the No. 3 pick.
  • According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots reached a deal to trade TE Rob Gronkowski and a second-round pick (No. 43) to the Lions for first- (No. 20) and second-round pick (No. 51) two years ago but the tight end didn’t want to play for any quarterback besides Tom Brady and vetoed the deal by threatening retirement. 
  • Schefter says Detroit would have received Gronkowski and a second-round pick (No. 43) while sending a first (No. 20) and second (No. 51) to New England. 
  • Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline says the Lions are one of the teams most interested in Florida EDGE Jabari Zuniga, potentially in the third round. 
  • Appalachian State RB Darrynton Evans has video conferenced with the Lions. (Justin Melo)

Packers

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has shown in his short tenure he’s not averse to moving around in the draft. Green Bay has moved both down and up in the first round the past two drafts, and with the No. 30 pick in this year’s edition they are poised to be able to do both depending on how the board falls. 

“That’s a long wait, and a lot of really good players will come off the board,” Gutekunst said via Mike Spofford of the team’s website. “We’ll be prepared to move up if we need to be and we’ll be prepared to move back if that’s what’s best for us…I think we’ll be able to be as aggressive as we need to be. I like to move around. I think it’s a very good draft. I’d like to move around and get to the areas of the draft I think are strong.”

One potential wrinkle for trade-happy GMs this year is the virtual nature of the draft. With decision-makers siloed at home, some have speculated logistical challenges could lead to fewer trades. However, Gutekunst doesn’t expect it to affect the Packers. 

“I don’t think there’s going to be too much of an issue, certainly not from our end,” Gutekunst said via Steve Megargee of the Associated Press.

  • Per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Gutekunst said re-signing CB Tramon Williams was still a possibility depending on what Green Bay does in the draft: “If that fits once we get through the draft then we’ll certainly make it happen if we can.”
  • New Packers LB Christian Kirksey and OT Ricky Wagner have completed physicals, while WR Devin Funchess is still waiting to finish his. (Matt Schneidman)
  • Gutekunst addressed the fact that Funchess hasn’t completely passed his physical yet, even though the Packers already announced the signing. “There’s still a portion of it that he’ll have to kind of get through once hopefully this clears up or we’re able find another way to do it.” (Demovsky)

Vikings

  • Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline says the Vikings are one of the teams that are very high on Utah CB Jaylon Johnson, potentially enough to draft him in the first round. 
  • Per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, Vikings GM Rick Spielman said he didn’t want to get into whether WR Stefon Diggs was unhappy or not, and that they ultimately did the deal because they felt good about the offer: “I’m going to leave all those internal discussions in house. It just came to a point that all the draft capital we were able to get was a good business decision for us and a good business decision for him.”
  • Spielman claims he was being truthful when he said at the Combine Minnesota had no intention of trading Diggs. (Tomasson)
  • Spielman didn’t offer any clarity on the long-term outlook between the Vikings and S Anthony Harris: “I’m not going to get into the business side. I know right now he is franchised.” (Tomasson)
  • The Vikings have fielded calls from teams both looking to move up and looking to move down, per Spielman. (Tomasson)
  • Spielman told reporters the team and QB Kirk Cousins were on the same page about the length of his new deal and called it a “win-win for both sides.” (Tomasson)
  • Spielman told reporters the Vikings could get a wide receiver who could contribute immediately “even in the fourth and fifth round.” (Tomasson)
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