OFF-SEASON TRACKER: NFC NORTH

nfc-north

Our off-season trackers cover all of the important moves that each team makes between the end of the 2016 season and the start of the 2017 one. 

Logo Bears CHICAGO BEARS

 

SIGNED: Benny Cunningham – The Bears kick return game has fallen off a cliff since the heady days of Devin Hester, and Cunningham comes in to compete with Deonte Thompson for the position. Might also provide a nice change of back at running back from Jordan Howard (21/3)

SIGNED: John Jenkins Former Saints nose tackle brought in to provide depth on the D-line. Given Eddie Goldman’s recent injury history, Jenkins might see the field more than anyone would like. (17/3)

SIGNED: Kendall Wright The ex Titan will almost certainly replace the injury prone Eddie Royal in the slot. Had his best career year when working with current Bears OC Dowell Loggains, and could be a very productive weapon for Glennon if he can stay healthy. (11/3)

SIGNED: Dion Sims The free agent TE from the Dolphins immediately strengthens one of the weakest areas on the depth chart. More of a blocker than a receiver, Sims offers a nice alternative to the play making but often injured Zach Miller. (10/3)

SIGNED: Quinton Demps The former Texan provides much needed veteran help at the safety spot. He has a nose for the ball and his six interceptions last season was almost as many as the entire Bears defense managed (seven). (10/3)

SIGNED: Markus Wheaton – The Bears will be delighted to add the Steelers’ promising wideout to a roster that needed help after the departure of Alshon Jeffrey. (10/3)

SIGNED: Prince Amukamara – Adding a cornerback makes sense for the Bears, who struggled at the position in 2016. Amukamara also offers an option in a return game that has suffered ever since they cut Devin Hester. (11/3)

SIGNED: Mike Glennon – The Bears opened up free agency with a huge deal for Glennon, in a move which suggests that their third pick in the Draft is going on a quarterback to develop under him. (09/3)

CUT: Jay Cutler – You’re surprised? Which hole have you been living in for the past three months? (09/3)

 

Logo Lions DETROIT LIONS

SIGNED: Don Muhlbach – You don’t get much movement among long snappers but Muhlbach becomes the second at his position to get a decent deal in free agency. (15/3)

SIGNED: T J Lang – The Lions’ offensive line struggled in 2016, both for talent and to keep players on the field. Lang, coming off the back of a Pro Bowl season, represents a huge upgrade for them. (13/3)

 

Logo Packers GREEN BAY PACKERS

SIGNED: Davon House – House wasn’t on the market for long after his release by the Jaguars, signing for his old team and almost guaranteeing himself a starting job. (14/3)

SIGNED: Martellus Bennett  Green Bay love their tight ends and picking up Bennett after his fine year in New England is a real boost for an offense which struggled at times in 2016 despite their playoff run. (11/3)

CUT: Sam Shields and James Starks – We’ve lumped these two together as the news on both is pretty much the same, i.e. cutting slightly injury prone veterans to free up cap space. Neither was a real surprise, especially as, in Starks’ case, the news had already come out that Ty Montgomery would switch to running back full time in 2017.

 

Logo Vikings MINNESOTA VIKINGS

SIGNED: Latavius Murray – The former Raiders running back gets the first shot at being the man to replace Adrian Peterson. He’ll be hoping that the Vikings continue to work on that offensive line, or he’s in for a rough 2017. (16/3)

SIGNED: Terence Newman – The Vikings brought back their former cornerback to add some further depth to the secondary. At 38 he isn’t a long term signing but the experience he brings will be vital. (15/3)

SIGNED: Datone Jones – It isn’t often that you get to sign a former first round pick from a divisional rival, so the Vikings will be delighted to have snapped up the versatile pass rusher from the Packers. (14/3)

SIGNED: Riley Reiff – The former Detroit tackle is a much-needed upgrade on an offensive line which struggled throughout 2016. (09/3)

RETIRED: Chad Greenway – This is a huge loss for the Vikings. Greenway was a massive part of Mike Zimmer‘s defensive scheme and they’ll now be in the market for veteran cover at linebacker during the free agency period. (07/3)

RELEASED: Adrian Peterson  Is this a surprise? Not really, when you think about it. AP has missed the best part of two seasons to injury and another to suspension recently and, after their monumental collapse last season, it is no real shock to see the Vikings move on from a player who is positively elderly in running back terms.

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Richard O'Hagan
Writer on such diverse topics as sport, music, theatre, law and politics. Author of 'Eddie the Sheep'. Supporter of underachieving teams, including the Chicago Bears from before that brief, heady, period in the mid-1980s when they were actually any good. All I want for Christmas is a Jim McMahon away shirt.
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