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2022 Free Agency Preview

Free Agency is upon us in one week. Time flies when you are discussing politics on FYS. Let’s preview some of the team needs and North team cap situations (heaven or hell or purgatory). In part 2 we’ll look at some of the big name free agents to hit the market this year.

Green Bay Packers

Two big dominos yet to fall for the Packers are Aaron Rodgers decision and Davante Adams franchise tag or free agency. The Packers have started making 3 restructures with Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones and Kenny Clark to clear some cap space but they are still well over the cap. Aaron Rodgers needs to make a big decision if he wants to stay, retire or be traded. A franchise tag for Adams will cost 20 million too.

Green Bay Packers 2022 Salary Cap Table | Spotrac

Packers are still 29.7 million over the cap.

Green Bay needs:

  • ILB with DVondre Campbell and Oren Burks hitting free agency
  • OLB2 if they cut the Smiths for cap space to pair with Gary
  • CB with free agency of Rasul Douglas, Chandon Sullivan and Kevin King (though Stokes and Alexander have two spots locked down)
  • WR with Adams, MVS, St. Brown and Lazard (RFA) free agency. Cobb a cap casualty possibility too with 7 million in savings if cut
  • TE with Robert Tonyan free agency
  • Guard with Lucas Patrick hitting free agency and Elgton Jenkins injury
  • Backup tackle with Dennis Kelly free agency
  • Punter Corey Bojorquez free agency
  • DE with Tyler Lancaster free agency

Some big decisions for the Packers in the next few weeks until the draft.

Chicago Bears

The Bears have some cap space for the new GM (Ryan Poles) and Head Coach (Matt Eberflus) despite lacking a first round pick in the 2022 draft. Bears should be active in free agency in this rebuild. Luke Getsy comes from the Packers to take over the Bears offense as OC. Eberflus is defensive minded and may switch them to a 4-3.

Bears have the most cap space in the North with 25.8 million before any cuts or restructures

Chicago Bears 2022 Salary Cap Table | Spotrac

Chicago needs:

  • WR with Allen Robinson and Damiere Byrd free agency and slot WR
  • DE with Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols free agency
  • TE with Jimmy Graham and Jessie James free agency
  • FS with Tashaun Gibson free agency
  • Tackle with Jason Peters and Germain Ifedi free agency (though they have Teven Jenkins if healthy at one tackle spot)
  • Guard James Daniel free aency
  • Backup QB with Andy Dalton free agency
  • Returner Jakeem Grant free agency
  • Punter Pat O Donnell free agency
  • ILB Alec Ogletree and backup Joel Ogiebuniye free agency
  • CB Artie Burns free agency

Bears need big time passing game, DE and secondary help.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have a new analytical GM and new HC in Kevin O’ Connell.  Vikings are 14.7 million Over the cap so it will be more difficult for the Vikings to rebuild in FA.

Minnesota Vikings 2022 Salary Cap Table | Spotrac

Minnesota Needs:

  • OLB Anthony Barr is a free agent
  • Slot WR Dede Westbrook
  • Kirk Cousins on final year of his deal so may need to figure out QB but has a ton of money guaranteed making a trade difficult. Might be a lame duck year for him
  • CB Patrick Peterson and slot Mackensie Alexander both are free agents
  • DT Sheldon Richardson a free agent
  • Safety Xavier Woods a free agent
  • OLB Nick Vigil a free agent
  • DE Everson Griffen a free agent
  • Backup QB Sean Mannion
  • Backup TE Tyler Conklin and Chris Herndon
  • Backup center Mason Cole
  • Vikings need one spot interior guard help over RG Udoh possibly
  • CB upgrade over Cam Dantlzer too
  • Punter Jordan Berry a free agent

Pass rush, new schemes and secondary help are the main needs for the Vikings plus cap maneuvering.

Detroit Lions

The Lions are in year 2 of the rebuild and have two 1st round picks (2 and 32). Detroit has some cap space but a ton of needs.

Detroit Lions 2022 Salary Cap Table | Spotrac

20.13 million in space for Detroit before cuts (Flowers for 12 mil and maybe Vaitai for 4 mil) and restructures. Detroit will be running more 4-3 looks this year.

Detroit needs:

  • Outside number 1 WR plus Josh Reynolds, Khadarel Hodge, Kalif Raymond free agency. Cephus returns from injury though
  • Safety with Tracy Walker, Dean Marlowe and CJ Moore free agency
  • 3-4DE or 4-3 DT with Nick Williams free agency
  • Stud pass rusher (see pick 2 for Lions) and Charles Harris free agency, Trey Flowers possible cut for 12 million in cap savings
  • Backup tackle upgrade over Matt Nelson/Tyrell Crosby free agency
  • Backup QB with Tim Boyle and David Blough free agency
  • ILB with Alex Anzalone, Shaun Dion Hamitlon and Jaleen Reeves Mabin free agency. JRM for ST too
  • CB2 need a veteran with Okudah and Jacobs coming off injury. Oruwariye in final year of deal
  • Punt returner Kalif Raymond free agency and WR 2
  • Backup TE upgrade over Brock Wright
  • Center/guard depth with Evan Brown restricted free agency
  • DT depth with DShawn Hand gone
  • RG if Vaitai cut

The Lions have plenty of cap and draft capital to make some moves. Holmes noted the player acquisition phase for the rebuild. Look for Detroit to be busy in free agency.