Holes. 2023 NFC North Needs Pre-Free Agency

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2023 NFL Free Agency will arrive in a few short weeks (March 15). Big moves, small moves and trades will be made once the negotiating period begins. Cap cuts will continue to happen along the way, so it is a good time to assess NFC North team needs prior to free agency.




Dalvin Tomlinson is a free agent to be and would be a loss for the Vikings already porous defense. Minnesota needs to retain him or will have to replace LE in the 3-4 scheme with new DC Brian Flores. Backup Jonathan Bullard is also a free agent to be which makes depth an issue too. James Lynch, Ross Blalock and rookie Ese Otomewo will have to replace the depth.

If Vikings can fix their cap hell, they could shop for a new LE prior to the draft.

Corner or Corner Depth

Patrick Peterson and Duke Shelley are free agents, and both played well in 2022. Chandon Sullivan wasn’t as good but is a free agent in the nickel spot. Cam Dantzler and rookie Andrew Booth could be the future here, but Booth is coming off an injury year. Akalyeb Evans, rookie, showed flashes too but the Vikings probably will need to add two CBs if they can’t resign any of the 3 vets.


Garret Bradbury and backup Austin Schlottman are free agents to be. If not re-signed, the Vikings have a big hole in the middle of their offensive line.

WR depth

Bisi Johnson is a free agent and Jaelan Raegor is a returner but doesn’t really answer the mail at WR 4. Vikings should add a cheap backup WR.


Greg Joseph is a free agent, and the Vikings need a reliable kicker.

OLB possible

If Z Smith or Hunter get cut or traded, OLB/EDGE becomes a need for Flores. Wonnum and Pat Jones are more backups at this point.


CB1 and Slot CB

CB is a need with slot CB Will Harris and Mike Hughes becoming free agents. Okudah and Jerry Jacobs are fine to start if needed, but Okudah probably won’t be 5th year optioned for 2024 (11.5 million). Lions could trade for Jalen Ramsey, sign a vet CB in FA and probably draft a CB given the CB1 and slot needs.

Mike LB

Alex Anzalone is a free agent. Lions keep bringing him back on one-year deals, but the Lions could upgrade at MIKE LB since 2021 4th round pick Derrick Barnes hasn’t stepped up. Malcolm Rodriguez is a solid Will LB after a good rookie season. Lions should try and bring back special ace LB Josh Woods too.

Box Safety

Deshon Elliot is a free agent and Tracy Walker is coming off an achilles injury. Kerby Joseph did well at FS as a rookie/ball hawk, but Ife Melifonwu just switched positions from CB to safety in year 2. Lions either need to re-sign Elliot or upgrade at box safety or hope Walker can come back strong after the achilles and fit in the box spot. Depth still needed then.

Pass Rushing DT/backup NT

Levi Onwuzurike got hurt two years in a row with a back injury. Still on a rookie deal but can’t expect much here. Lions moved Alim McNeil from NT to 3T but the Lions need more pass rush from the 3 tech and some depth at Nose tackle.

Closed End/DT

Lions have plenty of good EDGE players (Hutchinson, Houston, Paschal, Romeo and Julian Okwara and Charles Harris) but must decide for cap cuts for Romeo Okwara or Charles Harris. Lions could be in the EDGE market with one who can play some DT. Re-signing John Cominsky who played well could be the fit here.

RG or depth

Evan Brown is a free agent, and they could cut Vaitai due to injuries and big cap number. RG becomes a need then.


Lions should re-sign Jamaal Williams but have an opening at RB 3 too. Draft day 2 is possible here as well. Swift isn’t a workhorse and is in the last year of his rookie deal in 2023.

Backup QB

Sudfeld is a free agent and should be upgraded. Do the Lions dare take a rookie franchise QB to backup Goff for a year or two? Plenty of FA QBs with experience on the market too but the price must be right.


Badgley is a free agent and could be upgraded.



Lazard and Cobb are free agents and Doubs didn’t impress that much. Watson showed some big-time flashes and must step into WR 1 role.


Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis are free agents. TE is a big need for the Packers


Wyatt will be one spot and SS KC can play when they bring Slayton to NT. Lowry and Reed are free agents though and the Packers will need to add one DE at least.


Adrian Amos is a free agent and Savage is on the 5th year option. Ford was nice, but the Packers could upgrade at safety and add depth.

Backup QB

When Rodgers is traded, Packers will need a backup to Love.


Nixon is a free agent and was an all pro.


Crosby is a free agent.


Yes, holes


Claypool and Mooney are fine, but they need much more especially at slot WR.


Big hole here. Maybe Alex Leatherwood develops but they should add a much better RT. Rookie Braxton Jones was fine and should develop but


David Montgomery is a free agent. Justin Fields is a great RB though


Watt is a free agent and can upgrade over Justin Jones. Could add Jalen Carter


Gipson and Dominique Robinson were not that good, and Mack/Quinn were traded away. Bears need a big upgrade on the EDGE. Could add Will Anderson if not Jalen Carter.


All 3 LBs need upgrading after the Bears traded Roquan Smith. Woof it is bad for a great LB tradition team.


Needs an upgrade over Vildor. Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon are fine at CB 1 and slot.

DB Depth

Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker are good starting safeties but Jackson regressed since he got a big contract. Safety depth needed and CB depth.

Plenty of needs in the NFC North. Bears and Lions in cap heaven, Packers crawling out of cap hell to make a trade and Vikings still in cap hell. Going to be an interesting month of March to partially set up next season. Need status will be updated prior to the draft (April 27-29).