- Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that the Bears firing HC Matt Nagy will become official earlier next week.
- Sources tell La Canfora that team president Ted Phillips and GM Ryan Pace have made their case to retain their positions. However, ownership is considering several options at this time.
- According to La Canfora, the Bears have given some consideration to hiring agent Trace Armstrong and are also high on former NFL executive Rod Graves, who currently runs the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
- La Canfora adds that the team’s new coach and GM could report to a new head of football operations, with team president Ted Phillips being put in charge of overseeing the construction of a new stadium. Although, La Canfora says that Pace is very well-liked by ownership and there could be cases in which he remains with the team.
- Adam Beasley of PFN reports that Saints executive Jeff Ireland, and DC Dennis Allen could be potential replacements for the Bears if/when they move on from GM Ryan Pace and HC Matt Nagy.
- Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic believes that the Bears should prioritize cornerback over the defensive line this offseason, as the team could re-sign DL Bilal Nichols, and still have Mario Edwards and Eddie Goldman under contract. However, Fishbain doesn’t rule out the possibility that the two players could become cap casualties for Chicago this offseason.
- With QB Justin Fields on the COVID-19 list, backup Andy Dalton will start against the Vikings, per HC Matt Nagy. (Adam Jahns)
- The team has also ruled out veteran DL Akiem Hicks this Sunday due to an ankle injury. (Brad Biggs)
Lions fourth-round WR Amon-Ra St.Brown continues to use the position in which he was drafted as motivation and found himself heavily involved in Detroit’s offense this season.
“Early on, I was just getting a feel for it — NFL, new stage,” St. Brown told Pro Football Focus. “Then as the season kept going, I kept making more plays, they started involving me more in the offense. But personally, I feel like I’ve always been ready. It was just a matter of time till I got my opportunity, and once I got my opportunity I’m going to try and make the most of it. (Being the 17th receiver drafted) was a feeling that I hated, but I carry that with me throughout whenever I’m training. Whenever I’m trying to take it easy or I feel good about myself or, ‘Oh, it’s just another set,’ all I gotta do is if anyone reminds me or if I even think of it, it’s go time. I’m going even harder. Those 16 receivers that went before me, I’ll never forget. I want all the coaches that passed up on me to regret it. That’s something that I love, them seeing me do great and them knowing they passed up on me is the feeling that I want them to never forget. I keep track of these receivers, also. I see what they’re doing, check their stats, and just keep pushing.”
- ESPN’s Jordan Reid and Jeremy Fowler write the Lions and Jaguars are assured of having the top two picks in the draft and the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick in NFL circles comes down to Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux or Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson.
- Hutchinson is seen as the safer prospect while Thibodeaux is seen as having higher upside, though some like one AFC executive have questions about his consistency: “I watched several of his games, and I barely saw him make a play. Hutchinson at least shows up every week.”
- Tony Pauline of PFN reports that Vikings GM Rick Spielman could be promoted to team president, with HC Mike Zimmer possibly moving on. Pauline adds that Zimmer could be considered as a replacement for Cowboys DC Dan Quinn if he decides to take a head coaching job.
- Potential options for the Vikings, according to Pauline, include Bills OC Brian Daboll, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy.
- CBS Sports analyst and former agent Joel Corry points out the Vikings cannot practically plan to use a franchise tag on QB Kirk Cousins because he’s already been tagged twice in his career. A third tag is 144 percent of his 2022 salary, which is currently $45 million.
- Minnesota needs to lower that figure to have cap room to address other needs, like on defense. Corry writes the Vikings can’t restructure Cousins because he has just one year left on his deal and they would need him to sign off on adding void years, which is unlikely. They can’t cut him either because his 2022 salary is already guaranteed.
- That means their options are either to trade him or sign him to an extension. Corry notes a trade is more likely if the Vikings have a new head coach and general manager. However, Minnesota could have a hard time finding a team willing to take on Cousins’ $35 million base salary without the team eating some of the money.
- Corry believes two potential teams to watch that have past connections to Cousins and a need at quarterback include the Broncos, who hired longtime Vikings executive George Paton as GM last offseason, and the Browns, who employ Cousins’ former offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski at head coach.