NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

  • The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain highlights Bears DT Akiem Hicks as the player with the highest ratio of cap savings ($10.5 million) compared to dead money ($1.5 million) on the roster. However, he’s still a key piece to the defense and would be tough to cut as a cap casualty. 
  • Alternatives the Bears could explore with Hicks include a trade or an extension for the 31-year-old lineman that lowers his cap hit in 2021, per Fishbain. 
  • Bears CB Kyle Fuller is another player the Bears have to do something with, according to Fishbain, as his 2021 cap hit of $20 million will be the second-highest at the position. 
  • Fuller could be a valuable trade chip for Chicago, as a new team could sign him to an extension to lower his cap hit. The Bears could also take that tack with the 28-year-old defensive back. Cutting Fuller would free up $11 million while creating $9 million in dead money. 
  • Fishbain writes Bears TE Jimmy Graham, OT Bobby Massie and CB Buster Skrine are probably relatively easy cap casualties to free up a total of $15.2 million with $10.2 million in dead money. 
  • Fishbain also notes that while WR Anthony Miller is on his rookie contract and not really a factor financially either way, owner George McCaskey was publicly critical of him which makes his future worth watching. 
  • Among others, Fishbain lists Bears DE Khalil Mack, QB Nick Foles, S Eddie Jackson, LB Danny Trevathan, RB Tarik Cohen and DE Robert Quinn as players who aren’t going anywhere. 
  • As for WR Allen Robinson, Fishbain says that the Bears are looking at either a long-term deal around $20 million per season or the franchise tag at a cap hit of $18 million in 2021.  
  • ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson writes the shrinking salary cap and Chicago’s limited flexibility would make the franchise tag difficult. He adds there’s a real possibility Robinson walks in free agency. 

Lions

The Lions seemingly have a lot of work to do going forward, as they’re starting fresh with a new general manager and head coach. There could be a lot of changes on the horizon, including potentially with veteran QB Matthew Stafford if a true, tear it down to the studs rebuild is in the making. But incoming GM Brad Holmes didn’t necessarily indicate that’s how the new brass is viewing the situation, which could be an omen for how they’re leaning with Stafford this offseason. 

“That starts right this year in entering the 2021 season,” Holmes said via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “So not viewing this as, ‘Oh, this’ll be a long-term (rebuild). I don’t know how long-term it’s going to take.’ That’s not the approach, that’s not the mindset going into it. The approach is to make sure that we can make the most competitive team possible out there on the field in 2021.”

Holmes commented specifically on Stafford’s future with the team, explaining that he must “evaluate the entire roster.” 

Matthew, great player. And what you really appreciate is, I think the talent level is easy to see, but you really appreciate how intangibles show on film, how urgent he plays, how competitive he is, the toughness that he shows,” Holmes said, via Grant Gordon of NFL.com. “But it is my job to evaluate the entire roster, and through that process, I have not had any discussions with Matt or any players for that matter. So I just want to be fair to the process and make sure that we evaluate that thoroughly, but obviously, Matt, very good football player.”

  • ESPN’s Michael Rothstein says it’s hard to see the Lions just letting WR Kenny Golladay walk, so at the very least a franchise tag is a strong possibility if the two sides can’t work out a long-term deal. 
  • According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Lions will roll over approximately $12,819,468 in cap space to 2021, with the final amount pending an audit by the NFL. 
  • The Lions requested permission to interview Eagles ST coordinator Dave Fipp but were blocked by Philadelphia. (Birkett)
  • The Lions are bringing in K Matthew Wright for a visit this week. (Aaron Wilson)

Packers

  • ESPN’s Rob Demovsky says the Packers had a deal on the table for RB Aaron Jones that would have put him inside the top five at the position in average annual salary, but it was low on guarantees, leading Jones to turn it down and change agents. 
  • Demovsky adds the Packers have enough other financial needs that it’s hard to see Jones coming back but it’s not entirely out of the question. 
  • Over The Cap’s Nick Korte released updated compensatory pick projections. Typically Korte’s projections are the most accurate available, but he acknowledges this year will be potentially less accurate because of changes to the league’s confidential formula stemming from the new CBA and the pandemic. 
  • Nevertheless, Korte projects the Packers to receive fourth, fifth and sixth-round picks for the loss of LB Blake Martinez, OT Bryan Bulaga and OLB Kyler Fackrell in free agency.
  • According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Packers will roll over approximately $3,748,893 in cap space to 2021, with the final amount pending an audit by the NFL. 
  • Regarding the Packers injuries this week, second-round RB AJ Dillon was a limited participant with a quad injury, OT Jared Veldheer remains on the COVID-19 list and RB Tyler Ervin was out on Wednesday. (Ryan Wood)
  • Packer QB Aaron Rodgers said he’s “staying in the present” and not thinking too much about the possibility of this being his last game at Lambeau Field: “I hope there’s more opportunities, but I don’t know. I really don’t. That’s outside of my control. My future is a beautiful mystery, I think.” (Wood)

Vikings

  • ESPN’s Courtney Cronin writes there’s a high likelihood Vikings LB Eric Wilson is playing elsewhere in 2021 unless the team decides to move on from LB Anthony Barr
  • Over The Cap’s Nick Korte released updated compensatory pick projections. Typically Korte’s projections are the most accurate available, but he acknowledges this year will be potentially less accurate because of changes to the league’s confidential formula stemming from the new CBA and the pandemic. 
  • Nevertheless, Korte projects the Vikings to receive fourth and sixth-round picks for the loss of CB Trae Waynes and CB Mackensie Alexander
  • According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Vikings will roll over approximately $4,526,324 in cap space to 2021, with the final amount pending an audit by the NFL.
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