NFC NORTH

NFC North: Free agency scenarios for the Lions, Bears, Packers and Vikings

Posted Mar 9, 2013

Detroitlions.com lead writer Tim Twentyman takes a look at where all four teams in the NFC North stand heading into free agency

As of midnight ET, teams have been permitted to talk with agents of prospective unrestricted free agents

The official start of free agency is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. It should be a wild weekend.

Here’s where the four teams in the NFC North currently stand heading into free agency:

CHICAGO BEARS

2012 record: 10-6

Unrestricted Free agents (17): Kahlil Bell, RB; Zack Nowman, CB; Jason Campbell, QB; Kelvin Hayden, CB; Geno Hayes, LB; Israel Idonije, DE; Lance Louis, OL; Olindo Mare, K; Josh McCown, QB; D.J. Moore, CB; Troy Nolan, S; Amobi Okoye, DT; Chilo Rachal, OL; Nick Roach, LB; Jonathan Scott, OL; Chris Spencer, OL; Brian Urlaher, LB

Restricted free agents (1): Nate Collins, DT

Franchise tag: Henry Melton, DT ($8.450 million)

Comment: The Bears will have to make a decision on a couple of aging veterans in Urlacher (34) and Idonije (32). It seems likely that Urlacher will be back, but at what price? The Bears will also have to figure out a Plan B at backup quarterback.

DETROIT LIONS

2012 record: 4-12

Unrestricted free agents (22): Cliff Avril, DE; Gosder Cherilus, OT; Louis Delmas, S; Justin Durant, LB; Drayton Florence, CB; Andre Fluellen, DT; Dylan Gandy, G/C; Jason Hanson, K; Nick Harris, P; Jerome Harrison, RB; Will Heller, TE; Sammie Hill, DT; Chris Houston, CB; Lawrence Jackson, DE; Jacob Lacey, CB; Pat Lee, CB; Stefan Logan, KR; Don Muhlbach, LS; Kassim Osgood, WR; Kevin Smith, RB; Corey Williams, DT

Restricted free agents (3): Jason Fox, OT; Amari Spievey, S; Willie Young, DE

Franchise tag: None

Comment: There are seven starters in that group and a few other key reserves. Houston is currently at the top of the priority list for the Lions. The team brought in Delmas for a checkup on those troublesome knees Friday to decide how they want to proceed. Stay tuned. The Lions are going to lose some starters and among that list could be Avril, Cherilus and Durant.

Greg Jennings

GREEN BAY PACKERS

2012 record: 11-5

Unrestricted free agents (6): Cedric Benson, RB; Donald Driver, WR; Ryan Grant, RB; Greg Jennings, WR; Brad Jones, LB; Erik Walden, LB

Restricted free agents (5): Tom Crabtree, TE; Evan Dietrich-Smith, OL; Rob Francois, LB; Sam Shields, CB; Frank Zombo; LB

Franchise tag: None

Comment: The Packers will feel the loss of Jennings if he bolts via free agency, but the emergence of Randall Cobb lessens the blow. The Packers should be more focused on how they’re going to tender some of their key restricted free agents like Shields, Dietrich-Smith and Zombo. If they go low with Shields and Dietrich-Smith they could lose them with no compensation because they were undrafted.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

2012 record: 10-6

Unrestricted free agents (10): Devin Aromashodu, WR; Joe Berger, OL; Jasper Brinkley, LB; Jerome Felton, FB; Erin Henderson, LB; Phil Loadholt, OL; Marvin Mitchell, LB; Jamarca Sanford, S; Geoff Schwartz, OL; Jerome Simpson

Restricted free agents (2): A.J. Jefferson, CB; Troy Kropog, OL

Franchise tag: None

Comment: Felton earned his first Pro Bowl nod helping clear the way for Adrian Peterson to reach over 2,000 yards rushing last season and earn the league’s MVP Award. The Vikings want him back but he’ll explore options. The team will also want to push hard to re-sign Loadholt, who’s started every game for them at right tackle the past three seasons.