NFC North: Backus, Hutchinson in similar situations

Posted Feb 21, 2012

Lions left tackle Jeff Backus isn't the only longtime starting offensive lineman in the NFC North who has to answer questions about his contract, age and future with his organization.

Vikings five-time All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, 35, who is scheduled to make $6.95 million next season, is a candidate to be released or asked to restructure the final year of his seven-year, $49 million contract.

"I know what the cap situation is and all that, but it's out of my control," Hutchinson told Dave Campbell of the Associated Press.

Hutchinson said he wouldn't be surprised if the team asks him to redo his deal to stay this season and he acknowledged he has considered the possibility of being let go before the new league year begins and free agency opens next month.

"Any player has to worry about that in the NFL," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson played alongside Backus at Michigan and both were first-round draft picks in 2001, selected one pick apart.

Viking general manager Rick Spielman told the Star Tribune last week that "sometimes you just have to make some tough business decisions" regarding players on the roster with high salaries.

It doesn't help that Hutchinson hasn't been a Pro Bowler since 2009 and has been hurt the last two seasons.

Like the Lions, who have three offensive lineman over the age of 30, there comes a time when either the salary cap or father time make the future become the now.

Around the NFC North:

Breaking down the Bears and the salary cap
Mark Potash - Chicago Sun-Times

Many Bears attend funeral for Tommie Harris' wife
Sean Jensen - Chicago Sun-Times

Tentative stadium deal for U, Vikings
Eric Roper and Mike Kaszuba - Star Tribune

Assembly names Dec. 12, 2012 as Aaron Rodgers Day
Associated Press

Packers, Wells likely will part ways
Bob McGinn - Journal Sentinel