NFC North teams facing contrasting salary cap realities

Posted Feb 17, 2012

The Lions are certainly going to be tight up against the cap in 2012 while some of their NFC North counterparts will have a little more money to play with when free agency begins in March.

In the case of the Bears, it's an estimated $25 million.

New general manager Phil Emery told the Chicago Tribune when he was introduced that his goal was to be a draft-driven franchise, but he didn't close the door on spending in free agency.

The Bears certainly have the money to be players in free agency.

"The bottom line, and Phil knows this, if there is someone we want -- and it makes sense -- money is not going to be an issue," Bears Chairman George McCaskey told the Tribune this week.

The Bears are in great position this offseason with only one marquee free agent – running back Matt Forte – on the roster. Forte is looking to be one of the best-paid running backs in the league, but the Bears could also franchise him for a little under $8 million, which would be a great bargain given his production.

The Bears have a few more expiring contracts after next season, including linebacker Brian Urlacher, so there will have to be some budgeting for the future, but they're in good cap shape.

The Vikings are in rebuilding mode, but are only about $5 million under the cap, according to Kevin Seifert of

The Packers have a little more room to work with, being $10-$11 million under the cap.

Around the NFC North:

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Randy Moss gets contract offer from Chicago Indoor Football League team
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Vikings keep season-ticket prices the same for third year in a row
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Vikings might consider Robert Griffin III with No. 3 pick
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Packers WR Greg Jennings says Packers must 'continue to progress'
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