Free agency opens in just a few days, and the Green Bay Packers have some big decisions to make. Who will they re-sign? Which free agents should they target? Read on for a breakdown of the free agency situation in the NFC North.
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Available salary cap space is an estimate. The 2016 salary cap is $155.27 million per team.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (11-7)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DT B.J. Raji, LB Mike Neal, LB Nick Perry, CB Casey Hayward, RB James Starks, WR James Jones, QB Scott Tolzien, FB John Kuhn, TE Andrew Quarless, T Don Barclay, LS Brett Goode, S Sean Richardson.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: OL Lane Taylor, LB Andy Mulumba.
NEEDS: It never hurts to give QB Aaron Rodgers another target, especially after offense struggled in 2015. Packers could use consistent threat at tight end to open up middle of field. Or GM Ted Thompson could look for defensive help, perhaps inside linebacker with Clay Matthews appearing to be headed back outside. Defensive line could be replenished depending on if run-stuffing Raji returns. Offensive line depth might also be an objective, but Packers rarely splurge in free agency.
AVAILABLE SALARY CAP SPACE: $21.6 million.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-6)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: RB Matt Asiata, SS Robert Blanton, LB Audie Cole, DT Kenrick Ellis, TE Rhett Ellison, LB Chad Greenway, OL Mike Harris, LB Casey Matthews, CB Terence Newman, CB Josh Robinson, SS Andrew Sendejo, CB Marcus Sherels, DE Justin Trattou, LB Jason Trusnik.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: FB Zach Line.
NEEDS: Vikings are unlikely to spend big this month, but offensive line depth is a pressing matter, one that probably will require addressing through both in free agency and draft. Safety spot next to Harrison Smith remains an issue. If veterans Greenway and Newman aren’t re-signed, they’ll need replacements.
AVAILABLE SALARY CAP SPACE: $24 million.
DETROIT LIONS (7-9)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DT Haloti Ngata, DE Jason Jones, G Manuel Ramirez, SS James Ihedigbo, FS Isa Abdul-Quddus, LB Tahir Whitehead, LB Travis Lewis, DE Darryl Tapp, WR Lance Moore, LS Don Muhlbach, QB Dan Orlovsky, CB Josh Wilson, DT Jermelle Cudjo, DT Corey Wootton, CB Crezdon Butler, TE Bear Pascoe.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: WR Corey Fuller, LB Brandon Copeland, DT Khyri Thornton, RB George Winn, FS Isaiah Johnson, C Braxston Cave, TE Tim Wright.
NEEDS: Detroit needs to work on replacing WR Calvin Johnson whether he retires or not. Lions also have to find help on offensive line because they’ve ranked among league leaders in sacks allowed for two straight years.
AVAILABLE SALARY CAP SPACE: $33 million
CHICAGO BEARS (6-10)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: OLB Sam Acho, CB Alan Ball, WR Josh Bellamy, G Vladimir Ducasse, TE Rob Housler, WR Alshon Jeffery (franchise tag), DE Jarvis Jenkins, WR Marc Mariani, S Sherrod Martin, LB Shea McClellin, CB Sherrick McManis, TE Zach Miller, C Will Montgomery, S Ryan Mundy, CB Tracy Porter, S Chris Prosinski, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, DE Mitch Unrein.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: OL Nick Becton, OL Patrick Omameh, LB LaRoy Reynolds, WR Deonte Thompson.
NEEDS: Bears addressed one issue by placing non-exclusive franchise tag on Jeffery, all but ensuring he will remain in Chicago. $14.6 million tag leaves Bears with about $45 million in salary cap space to address holes. For all strides made in first season under coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, lack of playmakers on defense was glaring weakness. Chicago tied for 22nd in sacks last season with 35 and for 30th both in forced fumbles (six) and interceptions (eight).