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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / NFC North Free Agency Report Cards…So Far

NFC North Free Agency Report Cards…So Far

NFC North Free Agency Grades
Publish Date: 03/24/2017
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

The first two weeks of Free Agency is now behind us and there has been more movement. After grading the NFC East and NFC South, it’s time for the NFC North.

Green Bay

Additions and Re-Signs:

Nick Perry (OLB), Martellus Bennett (TE- NE), Ricky Jean-Francois (DE-Wash), Christine Michael (RB), Jayrone Elliot (DE), Lance Kendricks (TE- Rams), Don Barclay (OL), Jordan Tripp (LB), Davon House (CB- Jax)

Losses:

Micah Hyde (DB- Buf), JC Tretter (C- Clev), Mike Pennel (DT- Jets), T.J. Lang (G- Lions), Julius Peppers (OLB/DE- Car), Eddie Lacy (RB- Sea), Jared Cook (TE- Oak), Datone Jones (OLB/DE- Min)

On offense, while the Packers moved on from Eddie Lacy, J.C. Tretter, Jared Cook and T.J. Lang, they added tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks to ensure Aaron Rodgers has a big target in the middle of the field.

The question marks right now are on the offensive line, the running game and the overall defense.

The offensive line could be ok if Don Barclay or Jason Spriggs play well at right guard. Lane Taylor was the surprise of last season and if they can maintain what they were able to do and avoid injuries, the line should be ok.

At the moment, Christine Michael and Ty Montgomery will be sharing the workload at running back. They’ll likely draft another and go with what they have.

The glaring problem will be the defense. For the last three seasons, their best players have been Mike Daniels, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Sam Shields. Peppers and Shields are gone and Matthews hasn’t been able to live up to his big contract in quite a while. The loss of Micah Hyde is a big one, but the addition of Davon House at least provides a veteran who knows the system.

Ted Thompson will again rely on the draft to patch the defense and hope for Rodgers and the offense to carry the team.

Packers Grade: C-

Detroit

Additions and Re-Signs:

TJ Lang (G- GB), Ricky Wagner (T- Ravens), Paul Worrilow (LB- Atl), Darren Fells (TE- Ariz), Cornelius Washington (DT- Chi), D.J. Hayden (CB- Oak), Jordan Hill (DT- Jax), Khyri Thornton (DT), Akeem Spence (DT- Tampa), Don Muhbach (LS)

Losses:

Andre Roberts (WR- Atl), Tyrunn Walker (DT- Rams), Larry Warford (G- Saints), Riley Reiff(T- Min)

The Lions have gotten so close in the last couple of years, but haven’t been able to get past Green Bay or Minnesota when it really matters.

Adding T.J. Lang from Green Bay should solidfy the line with a veteran who can play multiple positions. Ricky Wagner will also provide good protection for Matthew Stafford.

The Lions really could use Anquan Boldin back as they largely kept the skill positions the same. The real area of need is running back. If they had a legitamite ground game, this offense would be one of the best in the NFC. They should take a flyer on Jamal Charles or Adrian Peterson to give them something in the backfield. They will likely draft a back next month.

On the defensive side, Paul Worrilow and D.J. Hayden should be good additions. The defense has improved, but needs to be more consistent, especially in December.

Lions Grade: B-

Minnesota

Additions and Re-Signs:

Adam Thielen (WR), Latavius Murray (RB- Oak), Datone Jones (OLB- GB), Riley Reiff (T- Det), Mike Remmers (T- Car)

Losses:

Andre Smith (T- Cin), Jeff Locke (P- Ind), Rhett Ellison (TE- NYG), Captain Munnerlyn (CB- Car), Matt Kalil (T- Car), Cordarrelle Patterson (WR- Oak)

The Vikings will be a different team than last year, that is for certain. Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, Terrance Newman, and Matt Asiata are gone. Teddy Bridgewater will likely not be back.

Sam Bradford is going to have to make things happen and the new running back is Latavius Murray. Re-signing Adam Thielen is huge, pairing him with Stefon Diggs. Murray is a good back and can be a threat in the passing game. The problem for the Vikings is that they have to lean on Bradford to win games, rather than a franchise back like Peterson.

They lost their homerun threat in the return game, Cordarelle Patterson, and the offensive line is in flux.

At this point, the Vikings probably need to bring in another veteran or two, but really need to crush the draft if they’re going to catch Green Bay or Detroit, as they don’t have much margin for error.

Vikings Grade: D

Chicago

Additions and Re-Signs:

Quintin Demps (S- Hou), Prince Amukamara (CB- Jax), C.J. Wilson (DT), Kendall Wright (WR- Tenn), Chis Prosinski (S), Eric Kush (C), Mike Glennon (QB- Tampa), Deonte Thompson (WR), Benny Cunningham (RB- Rams), Dion Sims (TE- Mia), Johnathan Banks (CB), Tom Compton (T- Atl), Markus Wheaton (WR- Pit), Mark Sanchez (QB- Dal), Marcus Cooper (CB- Ariz), John Jenkins (DT- Sea), Connor Barth (K)

Losses:

Brian Hoyer (QB- SF), Matt Barkley (QB- SF), Logan Paulsen (TE- SF), Ted Larsen (G- Mia), Alshon Jeffrey (WR- Phi), Cornelius Washington (DT- Lions)

The Bears have done some good things in free agency, most notably signing Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper at corner. The defense still needs a lot of work, especially on the front seven.

On offense, they did lose Jeffrey, but adding Kendall Wright to their corps will help. Markus Wheaton should provide some good possession depth, but they really need Kevin White to pan out.

The Mike Glennon addition is the puzzler. I’m just not sure he’s very good. They may have been better off keeping Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, but we’ll see.

If they can get better in the draft, they’ll at least be competitive in their division.

Bears Grade: C-


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