NFC NORTH: Free agent update

Posted Mar 18, 2014

A look at how the four teams in the NFC North fared over the first week of free agency

Free agency is now more than a week old now and put together a comprehensive free-agent report of every team.

The four teams in the NFC North have been busy over the last eight days.

A few big-name players are gone from the division, one changed teams within the division, and it appears every team got a little better.


Signed: WR Domenik Hixon (Panthers); DE Willie Young (Lions); S M.D. Jennings (Packers); DE LaMarr Houston (Raiders); S Ryan Mundy (Giants); LB Jordan Senn (Panthers).

Lost: QB Josh McCown (Buccaneers).

Re-signed: G Taylor Boggs; DT Nate Collins; C Roberto Garza; CB Kelvin Hayden; CB Derrick Martin (re-signed); QB Jordan Palmer; DT Jay Ratliff; TE Dante Rosario; CB Charles Tillman; LB D.J. Williams; TE Dante Rosario.

Cut: DE Julius Peppers (Packers).

Twentyman: It’s no surprise the Bears focused a lot of the first week of free agency addressing their 30th ranked defense last year. Julius Peppers is gone, but Lamarr Houston and Willie Young give them some active pass rushers on the edge. M.D. Jennings has started the last 26 games for the Packers and gives them more experience at safety, along with Ryan Mundy, to help fill the void of Major Wright’s departure. The Bears didn’t make huge headlines in free agency, but they added experienced veterans entering the prime of their careers.


Signed: WR Golden Tate (Seahawks); DE Darryl Tapp (Redskins); DT Corvey Irvin (Dallas); DT Vaughn Martin (Miami).

Lost: DE Willie Young (Bears).

Re-signed: RB Joique Bell; TE Brandon Pettigrew; S Don Caey; WR Kevin Ogletree; C Dominic Raiola; S Isa Abdul-Quddus; LS Don Muhlbach; TE Matt Veldman; LB Julian Stanford; WR Kris Durham; CB Chris Greenwood (exclusive rights); WR Jeremy Ross (exclusive rights).

Cut: S Louis Delmas (Dolphins); WR Nate Burleson; G Leroy Harris

Twentyman: The Lions’ No. 1 priority in free agency was getting more help at receiver. They accomplished that with Tate, who should fit in nicely opposite Calvin Johnson. Tate has a terrific pair of hands, which is probably the most underrated part of his game. The Lions still have to find a replacement for Delmas, and that could ultimately be James Ihedigbo, who visited the team late last week and said he hoped to sign a contract with the team. The Lions could also be in the market for a veteran backup quarterback if Shaun Hill decides to sign elsewhere. He was meeting with the Rams on Monday. Don’t expect any more major signings by the Lions outside of potentially Ihedigbo, however. They’ll now turn their focus to getting a new deal done with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and to May’s draft to fill needs.


Signed: DE Julius Peppers (Bears).

Lost: S M.D. Jennings (Bears); C Evan Dietrich-Smith (Buccaneers); WR James Jones (Raiders)

Re-signed: S Chris Banjo; CB Sam Shields; TE Andrew Quarless; DE B.J. Raji; DE Mike Neal.

Twentyman: Hanging onto Sam Shields was a terrific move by general manager Ted Thompson. Shields is hitting his prime and is an up-and-coming player in this league. Snagging Julius Peppers from the Bears is an interesting move. How will they use him? He’s expected to play defensive end in their 3-4 scheme, but they could also stand him up and move him around. Should be interesting to see how that works with Clay Matthews. As usual, the Packers focused more on retaining their own players than spending a ton in free agency.


Signed: DT Linval Joseph (Giants); CB Captain Munnerlyn (Panthers); CB Derek Cox (Chargers); LB Jasper Brinkley (Cardinals).

Lost: CB Chris Cook (49ers); RB Toby Gerhart (Jaguars).

Re-signed: RB Matt Asiata; C Joe Berger; QB Matt Cassel; DT Fred Evans; DE Everson Griffen; CB Marcus Sherels; WR Jerome Simpson; G Charlie Johnson; LB Larry Dean.

Cut: TE John Carlson (Cardinals); LB Erin Henderson.

Twentyman: Captain Munnerlyn was a terrific signing for a Vikings defense that ranked 31st in pass defense and allowed 57 receptions of 20-plus yards in 2013. Getting Matt Cassel back was also key. He gives them options in the NFL Draft. The Vikings think Everson Griffen can help fill Jared Allen’s shoes, we'll see if he can.