NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers

     

Bears

  • Per NFL Media’s Stacey Dales, Bears GM Ryan Pace did not offer many specifics on their plan at quarterback, including if they were considering re-signing Mitchell Trubisky: “That’s gonna be part of our offseason plan. We’re not gonna lay that all out right now. Everything’s on the table with all the quarterbacks.” 
  • Pace added the Bears have not made a “firm decision” on using the franchise tag on WR Allen Robinson: “We want to keep our good players and Allen is a good player for us.” (Brad Biggs)
  • Bears OLB Khalil Mack and CB Jaylon Johnson avoided needing surgery at the end of the season. (Biggs)
  • San Diego State RB Darren Hall is scheduled to meet virtually with the Bears. (Justin Melo)

Lions

  • Chris Burke of The Athletic lists nine players chosen by former GM Bob Quinn who the Lions can ditch in order to save around $38 million in cap space, the players include CB Desmond Trufant, CB Justin Coleman, DT Nick Williams, DT Danny Shelton, LB Christian Jones, QB Chase Daniel, TE Jesse James, G Joe Dahl, and RB Kerryon Johnson.
  • Burke thinks the team should retain C Frank Ragnow by picking up his fifth-year option or locking him up on a long-term deal.
  • Burke would also like to see WR Kenny Golladay return to Detroit, as he believes Golladay can be a true No. 1 receiver for new QB Jared Goff. Burke adds that this should not deter the Lions from potentially drafting a wide receiver.
  • According to Burke, the team could find a bargain on a receiver or running back, suggesting options such as WR Josh Reynolds, WR Breshad Perriman, WR Rashard Higgins, RB Jamaal Williams, RB Tevin Coleman, RB Mark Ingram, or RB Carlos Hyde.
  • The Lions also need to add a veteran to their defensive backfield, according to Burke. He mentions S Marcus Williams or CB Nickell Robey-Coleman as two potential options.
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says he would be surprised if Golladay isn’t tagged, though a final decision hasn’t been made yet. 
  • Lions GM Brad Holmes wouldn’t say that quarterback is off the table for them in the first round at No. 7 overall despite trading for Goff: “When you’re picking inside the Top 10, I don’t think there’s a position you can look past at any level.” (Michael Rothstein)
  • Holmes added this is looking like a strong class at quarterback and safety. 
  • Holmes didn’t say what the Lions will be doing with Golladay but did tell reporters they would hear about it shortly: “I don’t think there’s any debate that Kenny has shown the ability to be a number one receiver in this league.” (Burke)
  • Asked about whether he or Holmes would have the final say, Lions HC Dan Campbell again said the two would be collaborative: “A true alpha knows when it’s time to concede.” (Stacey Dales)
  • Campbell added there are “going to be some things that go down this week” related to a resolution for guys like Trufant and Coleman. (Kyle Meinke)
  • Campbell pointed out that assistant HC Duce Staley‘s job is more than just a title, and he’ll be involved with the offense, defense, team schedule, salary cap and other things in preparation for what Campbell sees as a future career as a head coach. (Tori Petry)

Packers

  • Per Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Packers HC Matt LaFleur said he conducted nine interviews for the defensive coordinator vacancy before hiring former Rams LB coach Joe Barry. He stood out to LaFleur as a “high-character person” and a “great communicator, knowledgeable,” which helped him get the job: “He earned it.”
  • LaFleur defended the fact that in Barry’s four previous seasons as a DC his units never finished higher than 28th: “He’s learned a lot from those previous experiences. I don’t think he’d ever hide from those.” (Wood)
  • LaFleur noted the Rams’ defense was one of the harder ones they had to prepare against all year and Barry will bring a version of that over with him. (Rob Demovsky)
  • He added it would be a “multiple” defense that actually would have some carryover to what they ran last season: “There’s definitely some carryover from what we’ve done in the past couple years, but there’s going to be added elements as well.” (Wood)
  • Barry told reporters that’s why he decided to keep a majority of last year’s staff: “We kept everybody intact because they’re phenomenal coaches, and I’m excited to work with each and every one of them.” (Wood)
  • He added he’s proud of his “scars” from those years where he was the DC for some bad defenses: “I think that’s when true growth takes place. When you do get those scars and you learn from it, you don’t have to wear sleeves and hide it.” (Tom Silverstein)
  • Regarding new Packers ST coordinator Maurice Drayton, Lafleur said: “He is a teacher. He is an excellent communicator. Brings great energy to that room and that’s really what I thought was needed. Just his voice leading that room.” (Olivia Reiner)
  • Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett said the biggest thing 2020 first-round QB Jordan Love needs in 2021 is practice. (Wood)
  • Hackett doesn’t know if Packers WR Devin Funchess, who signed as a free agent last year but opted out, will be in their plans for 2021. (Demovsky)
  • Drayton made it clear that the Packers are considering moving on from P JK Scott and LS Hunter Bradley for performance reasons: “They understand that their backs are against the wall.” (Matt Schneidman)
  • Packers GM Brian Gutekunst didn’t offer a lot of insight into any pursuit Green Bay may have had for DE J.J. Watt: “Whenever those guys come available, we’re always interested to see if they’d be a good fit for us.” (Wood)
  • Gutekunst says the Packers don’t have a philosophical objection to using the franchise tag on RB Aaron Jones: “If that becomes what’s in the best interest of the Packers, I think we’ll do that, but at this point we haven’t done that.” (Demovksy)
  • If the Packers have the opportunity to make a big splash in free agency, Gutekunst told reporters they would take it. They might have room for just one, though: “We won’t be able to do a lot, but if the right guys is there we’ll be able to do what we need to do.” (Silverstein)
  • Gutekunst noted they still haven’t closed the door on bringing back C Corey Linsley: “There’s nothing more we would like to have than Corey back … at the level of compensation he’s at, he’s certainly earned that. We’d never close the door on something with Corey Linsley.” (Schneidman)
  • Though he’s been speculated as a potential cap casualty, Packers OLB Preston Smith is expected back in 2021, per Gutekunst. (Schneidman)
  • Regarding LT David Bakhtiari‘s rehab from a torn ACL, Gutekunst commented: “He looks great for where he’s at … all signs are good right now.” (Schneidman)
  • Asked whether the Packers have approached QB Aaron Rodgers about restructuring his contract to free up cap space, Gutekunst responded they’ve discussed that with multiple players. (Schneidman)

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