NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

Bears HC Matt Nagy articulated what Chicago is hoping to find with its next attempt at answering the decades-long puzzle that has been the starting quarterback position for the team. 

“Leadership, decision-making and if you have some versatility as a quarterback with your legs, great,” Nagy said via the Arlington Daily Herald’s Sean Hammond. “If you don’t, no problem. We can work around it.”

Nagy didn’t divulge any specific names that the Bears are targeting at quarterback this offseason other than to say that Chicago does, indeed, have a plan. 

“There’s several,” he said via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “We can’t get into that right now. There’s a lot of different what-ifs. If it’s Quarterback X, Y or Z, including the guys that we discussed with Mitch and Nick, what do we do to get this thing better?

“In the end, we’ve got to score more points. We’ve got to score more touchdowns, regardless of anything. It’s not just one position. It’s everywhere. We feel like with some of the younger guys that we drafted this past year and previous years, guys are really jumping into their specific roles and they can help multiply that quarterback position. They can help out.”

Lions

Lions GM Brad Holmes can’t specifically talk about QB Jared Goff until the trade is processed at the beginning of the new NFL league year. He’s quite familiar with Goff, though, having been part of the front office that traded up to draft him and signed him to a major deal. He said that familiarity will guide his process this offseason. 

“Obviously, I have a lot of knowledge,” Holmes said via Pro Football Talk. “But having a veteran quarterback, obviously it can shape some decisions in terms of my familiarity with him — knowing what works best for him. What the likes [are], what he strives for, it does help shape things from a team-building standpoint, in terms of adding tools, adding pieces that will fit his skillset.”

Packers

  • Matt Schneidman of The Athletic thinks that RB AJ Dillon could be the starter in Green Bay this season as running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams could both be gone in free agency.
  • Schneidman also points out that the Packers can still release DE Dean Lowry to free up $3.3 million in cap space, yet believes that the team would be better suited to keep Lowry and use a draft pick on a cornerback instead of a defensive end. Schneidman projects Lowry and DE Kingsley Keke to be the Packers starting defensive ends in 2021.
  • However, Schneidman writes that veteran CB Richard Sherman would be a good signing for the Packers, as he would provide a better option than most of the cornerbacks currently on Green Bay’s roster.
  • According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said they plan to convert QB Aaron Rodgers‘ $6.8 million roster bonus into a signing bonus to save $4.5 million. They could also convert more of Rodgers’ $14.7 million base salary to create additional space but they’d have to answer for that as dead cap in the future sometime when they moved on from him. 

Vikings

  • Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press says the Vikings still have not reached out to former G Nick Easton since his release from the Saints. 
  • Vikings GM Rick Spielman told reporters they’re “going to have to make a lot of tough business decisions” in the same vein as releasing TE Kyle Rudolph: “A lot of decisions that have not been made yet.” (Courtney Cronin)
  • He also tried to dispute any idea that the Vikings are considering moving on from QB Kirk Cousins: “Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. I know there are a lot of rumors floating around out there.” (Tomasson)
  • Spielman hasn’t been told by DE Danielle Hunter that he wants to be the highest-paid defensive player in the league and added Hunter’s rehab looks like it’s going well: “I saw an Instagram picture of him yesterday and he looked pretty good.” (Andrew Krammer)
  • Regarding pending FA LB Eric Wilson, Spielman mentioned the Vikings can’t afford three highly-paid linebackers. They already have Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks on big deals. (Krammer)
  • Barr has been mentioned as a potential pay cut or release candidate, which Spielman didn’t deny: “Anthony is a critical piece – I know coach Zim has spoken about it – of our defense. Just him on the field creates some offensive coaches, they have to scheme for him … But it’s all going to depend … how the pieces are going to fit in place.”
  • Spielman said they’ll figure out whether 2020 second-round OL Ezra Cleveland will play guard or tackle in his second season: “All depends on what happens over these next couple months.” (Chad Graff)
  • He declined to say what the plan is with LT Riley Reiff, which probably impacts Cleveland: “Won’t talk business … but he was one of our most consistent offensive linemen last year … Had probably one of his best years here. He’s just so smart, competitive. Really learned over the years how to play efficient.” (Krammer)

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