NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings


  • According to the Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain, the Bears could re-sign Germain Ifedi, keep Charles Leno and use a first- or second-round pick on an offensive lineman as they look to build out the unit this offseason.
  • Fishbain adds that the Bears could potentially release Leno and look for his replacement via free agency, but that scenario is less likely as Chicago also has needs at quarterback and wide receiver.
  • Fishbain believes that the Bears may have to re-work CB Kyle Fuller‘s contract in order to lower his $20 million cap number for 2021. 
  • With defensive linemen Roy Robertson-Harris, Mario Edwards Jr, Brent Urban and John Jenkins all set to become free agents, Fishbain mentions the defensive line as an area of focus for the Bears in free agency. Akiem Hicks’ status is also “unknown” because of a high cap number, says Fishbain.
  • Fishbain notes that cutting TE Jimmy Graham would free up $7 million in cap space. Although, Graham may play a role in recruiting Seahawks QB Russell Wilson to Chicago, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King.
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer highlights the Bears as a potential landing spot for Jets QB Sam Darnold. He notes eight teams have called the Jets to ask about a trade for the former No. 3 pick. 


The Lions went hard after Duce Staley when he was allowed by the Eagles to pursue other coaching opportunities. In Detroit, he’ll have the same title as he did in Philadelphia, assistant HC/RB coach, but Lions HC Dan Campbell said he has a lot of things in mind for Staley to help him with his eventual goal of moving up the coaching ladder. 

“I told him, ‘You’re not going to be a token assistant head coach,'” Campbell said via NFL Media’s Nick Shook. “I’m going to use him. We had him in during our player evaluations on the whole offense and defense — though he wasn’t able to be in there very long because he had to go back with [OC Anthony] Lynn and work offensively. But I’m going to keep him abreast of the cap and things of that nature, what we’re trying to do with free agency.”

Staley left the Eagles because he was twice passed over as a possible head coach despite interviewing for the position. Finding an avenue to new career growth was a major plus for him in joining the Lions. 

“He’s going to be primed and ready to be a head coach when it’s all said and done. All his bases are going to be covered,” Campbell said. “He’s going to be able to check off every box and say I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I know, I’ve been training for this — just like Sean [Payton] did for me. He’s going to be a true assistant head coach. And if something goes down and he needs to step in into my seat, he’s ready to roll. So that’s how I view it.”


  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer highlights Packers OLB Preston Smith as a potential trade candidate for Green Bay this offseason to save salary. 
  • The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman expects the Packers to let CB Kevin King walk in free agency, which makes cornerback one of Green Bay’s biggest needs this offseason. 
  • Schneidman says adding depth at offensive tackle becomes even more of a priority given the uncertainty LT David Bakhtiari‘s ACL tear casts on his readiness for the start of the 2021 season. 
  • Schneidman also thinks the Packers could try and find upgrades for DL Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster
  • If the Packers can’t re-sign either RB Aaron Jones or Jamaal Williams, they’ll need to add a back to complement 2020 second-rounder AJ Dillon. If they can bring back either one, though, they’re set, per Schneidman. 
  • At inside linebacker, Schneidman writes the Packers should look to add some experience and injury insurance for 2020 rookies Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin.


  • According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, the Vikings will not tender exclusive-rights CB Chris Jones. Jones will become a free agent.
  • Viking DL Stephen Weatherly said Monday that he became complacent in his one season with the Panthers: “I’ll openly admit that, in Carolina, I was kind of happy about the deal I’d signed. A little bit of complacency set in. That can’t happen. I need to be striving and reaching for the next step.” (Ben Goessling)

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