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NFC NORTH: Recapping the first few days of free agency

The first week of free agency is in the books and it was a very busy week for the four teams in the NFC North.

Here's a look at how rosters have changed throughout the division through the first wave of free agency:


2023 record: 12-5 (division champs)

Top re-signings: G Graham Glasgow, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, CB Emmanuel Moseley, T Dan Skipper, CB Khalil Dorsey, RB Zonovan Knight, LS Scott Daly

Key free-agent additions: DT DJ Reader, CB Carlton Davis (trade), Edge rusher Marcus Davenport, CB Amik Robertson

Big free agent losses: G Jonah Jackson, S C.J. Gardner-Johnson, LB Anthony Pittman

Twentyman's take: It was clear from the start of free agency and the trade for Davis, that Lions GM Brad Holmes' plan was to strengthen the cornerback room and add key pieces upfront on defense.

Holmes traded a third-round pick to Tampa Bay for Davis and also received two sixth-round picks in return for a player they hope can step into a starting role opposite Cam Sutton. The re-signing of Moseley and free-agent acquisition of Robertson give the Lions more talent and depth at cornerback than they had this time last year.

Reader was a home-run addition that gives the Lions arguably one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackle duos in the NFL with him and Alim McNeill. Davenport's addition gives them another experienced edge rusher to pair with Aidan Hutchinson, Josh Paschal, John Cominsky and others. Detroit's defense got better.

Offensively, losing Jackson will hurt. That's an area Holmes will have to look to strengthen either with a veteran in free agency or next month's NFL Draft.

Go behind the scenes with the Detroit Lions during 2024 free agency.


2023 record: 9-8

Top re-signings: CB Keisean Nixon, RB AJ Dillon, CB Corey Ballentine, TE Tyler Davis, LB Kristian Welch

Key free-agent additions: RB Josh Jacobs, S Xavier McKinney

Big free agent losses: RB Aaron Jones (released), LT David Bakhtiari (released), S Jonathan Owens, G Jon Runyan, S Darnell Savage

Twentyman's take: A new era begins in Green Bay with the release of Bakhtiari and Jones. Those two have been a staple in Green Bay – and a thorn in Detroit's side – for years. Jacobs takes over running back duties for the Packers after running for 805 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games for the Raiders last season. He led the league in rushing in 2022, racking up 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns. He brings a different style to Green Bay's backfield.

The savviest signing might have been McKinney. Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley really values the safety position in his scheme and McKinney played at a Pro Bowl level last season with 116 tackles (78 solo), three interceptions and 11 passes defended. He improves the backend of the Packers' defense.


2023 record: 7-10

Top re-signings: DL Jonathan Bullard, WR Brandon Powell, T David Quessenberry, G Blake Brandel, TE Johnny Mundt

Key free-agent additions: QB Sam Darnold, OLB Jonathan Greenard, OLB Andrew Van Ginkel, RB Aaron Jones, LB Blake Cashman, DL Jerry Tillery, WR Trent Sherfield

Big free agent losses: QB Kirk Cousins, DE Danielle Hunter, LB Jordan Hicks, DE Marcus Davenport, RB Alexander Mattison (released)

Twentyman's take: Something tells me the Vikings aren't done adding to the quarterback position after losing Cousins in free agency to Atlanta and adding Darnold from the 49ers. Darnold is an experienced veteran and he's got some weapons to throw to in Minnesota, but I thought it was interesting Friday that Minnesota and Houston agreed to a trade where the Vikings acquired the No. 23 overall pick in the first round and the No. 232 selection (seventh round) while giving the Texans No. 42 overall (second round), No. 188 (sixth round) and a second-round pick in 2025. Are the Vikings stockpiling picks to move up and draft a QB?

Minnesota is a nice landing spot for Jones. He'll fit in nicely in their scheme. Hunter and his 16.5 sacks last year is a big loss. There were no tears shed in Detroit to see him out of the division. I really like the additions of Greenard and Van Ginkel. I think they'll help stem the loss of Hunter.


2023 record: 7-10

Top re-signings: DB Jaylon Johnson, LS Patrick Scales

Key free-agent additions: WR Keenan Allen (trade), RB D'Andre Swift, S Kevin Byard, C Ryan Bates (trade), TE Gerald Everett, S Jonathan Owens, OL Coleman Shelton, LB Amen Ogbongbemiga, OL Matt Pryor, QB Brett Rypien, OL Jake Curhan, OL Coleman Shelton

Big free agent losses: WR Darnell Mooney, DT Justin Jones, S Eddie Jackson (released)

Twentyman's take: The Bears got a big upgrade at receiver with the trade for Allen and only had to give up a fourth-round pick to get him. Allen caught 108 passes for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns last season and has six 1,000-yard seasons on his resume. He and D.J. Moore make a nice combo at receiver. Swift is coming off a 1,000-yard rushing season for the Eagles in 2023. Lions fans know what he can do.

Defensively, securing Johnson was priority No. 1 for GM Ryan Poles and the Bears got him back on a four-year, $76 million deal that keeps one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL in Chicago. Byard is an All-Pro safety who should settle in nicely opposite Jaquan Brisker in the backend of Chicago's defense. Chicago got better and still have two top 10 picks in next month's NFL Draft.

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