NFC Notes: Ryan Pace, Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings, Mike Zimmer


NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo revealed Eagles GM Howie Roseman reportedly turned down a 2022 first-round pick from the Bears, instead opting to draft Alabama WR DeVonta Smith.

“Now, Howie Roseman came into this season saying ‘I know we’re starting to plan for the future.’ That’s why he compiled those three [first-round] draft picks,” Garafolo said, via “He had an opportunity to get a fourth, by the way. When the Bears were trading up — and they would have traded up with the Eagles instead of the Giants — Roseman said ‘No, I like DeVonta Smith and believe he’s going to have an immediate impact on our team.’ So he selected DeVonta Smith.”

  • According to Albert Breer, Bears GM Ryan Pace has a “decent chance” to be back as the team’s general manager in 2022.
  • As for the head-coaching job, Breer has heard that Chicago won’t be focused solely on quarterback-developers like they were when they hired Matt Nagy.
  • Breer mentions Bills DC Leslie Frazier, Patriots LBs coach Jerod Mayo and Colts DC Matt Eberflus as some names to watch for the Bears.


  • Chris Burke and Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic both selected WR Amon-Ra St. Brown and DE Charles Harris as their offensive and defensive standouts for the Lions this season. They also named their most improved players for 2021 in G Jonah Jackson and CB Amani Oruwariye, who is currently out with an injury.
  • While both praised DC Aaron Glenn, they also pointed out strong moves made by GM Brad Holmes, including signing WR Josh Reynolds and the trade for DT Michael Brockers.
  • Lions HC Dan Campbell called QB Jared Goff “probable” for this Sunday, with the expectation that he will play. (Burke)
  • Campbell said that offensive tackles Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker are both still experiencing COVID symptoms, despite being eligible to return from the reserve list tomorrow. (Dave Birkett)
  • Lions S Tracy Walker loved the season he played under DC Aaron Glenn: “(Aaron Glenn) is kind of like that uncle that — you know how there’s that uncle that always watches your back when you’re young, and he’s always going to look out for you, but he’s going to tell your ass when you’re wrong? That’s AG.” (Kyle Meinke)
  • Walker asked about free agency and said while he would like to remain with the Lions, he is ruling nothing out: “As far as a major payday? That sounds nice.” (Benjamin Raven)


  • Packers DC Joe Barry said that OLB Preston Smith‘s effort level has remained high all year long as he’s enjoyed one of his best seasons as a pro: “The thing I’m most proud of him is how hard he’s played this year. He’s played with maximum effort all year long.” (Ryan Wood)
  • Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett confirmed that he will interview with the Jaguars, though he made it clear that his first priority was putting off the interview until the Packers secured the number-one seed in the playoffs: “It’s absolutely an honor to be able to be considered for this,” Hackett said. (Wood)
  • Packers HC Matt LaFleur expects center Josh Myers to play Sunday in Detroit but won’t guarantee him a starting job in the playoffs, as C Lucas Patrick has played well in his absence. (Ryan Wood)
  • LaFleur says LT David Bakhtiari has a possibility to play against the Lions in Week 18. (Wood)
  • LaFleur on if QB Aaron Rodgers needs to play on Sunday: “I don’t think he necessarily needs to play. I think he wants to play and keep the momentum going.” (Wood)
  • LaFleur said the team plans to give WR Randall Cobb more time off prior to the playoffs. (Rob Demovsky)


  • Albert Breer says that there’s a feeling right now that these will likely be Mike Zimmer’s final days in Minnesota.
  • As for Vikings GM Rick Spielman, Breer says his status is less certain. Although, there is an expectation he’ll remain with the team in some capacity.
  • Regarding a potential head-coaching search, Breer expects the Vikings to cast a wide net.
  • The Athletic’s Chad Graff theorizes the Vikings would be willing to eat $20 million of Cousins’ deal if they were to get a first-round pick back. 
  • Graff gets the sense Vikings GM Rick Spielman has a better chance of hanging around than the coaching staff does. 
  • Graff mentions Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy and former Eagles HC Doug Pederson as candidates to watch should the Vikings fire HC Mike Zimmer.
  • Vikings OC Klint Kubiak called on rookie OG Wyatt Davis to continue working and have a great offseason in order to earn more playing time next season: “I think there were some guys in front of him who were playing well, and his story is yet to be told. He’s been putting in the same practice work behind the scenes, and it’s up to Wyatt to go put a great offseason together, have a great OTA and have a great training camp, and just slowly become the player that he wants to be, that we all want him to be. But again, it’s just opportunity. He didn’t get it. Kellen didn’t get it. They’re working behind the scenes, and what they become will be result of the work they put in. So we’re just going to keep coaching the heck out of them and making him better so that when he gets his opportunity he can show us what he’s all about.” (Courtney Cronin)

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