The 2021 free agency frenzy is over. There are some deals and good veterans out there to be made but it is now time to reassess the NFC North rosters. Let’s take a look at what changed and determine the remaining needs.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers cut Rick Wagner and Christian Kirksey and made some restructures for cap space. Aaron Jones remains on a 4 year 48 million dollar deal. They were able to re-sign TE Marcedes Lewis/Robert Tonyan, DE Tyler Lancaster and CB Kevin King to cheaper deals. Green Bay lost RB Jamaal Williams (Lions) and and QB Tim Boyle (Lions) in free agency.
Needs: ILB, WR 2, Guard, OT depth, future CB
Packers were cap strapped and create a need at ILB. They do like Krys Byrnes and have faith in 2019 3rd round pick Oren Burks. Packers could still add talent here. We will see if they draft one in Round 1 or day 2 or go with a veteran ILB.
Devin Funchess returns from the opt out but the Packers are underwhelmed from MVS and Lazard. They are solid but Packers could clearly get better here.
Guard could be a need depending on Jon Runyan Jr but depth always needed at G and tackle. They lost Linsley so Jenkins slides to the middle unless they draft someone. With Bakhtiari’s knee injury and Wagner being cut, the Packers need swing tackle depth.
Kevin King re-signed but King and Sullivan are in contract years. Could use a 4th CB too since Josh Jackson hasn’t done much.
Third safety in play as well but not a high need.
The Vikings added Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander on one year deals plus Dalvin Tomlinson at DT. Michael Pierce returns from opt out at nose tackle and Hunter, Barr and Kendricks return from injury. Stephen Weatherly returns to replace Odenigbo at DE. Vikings cut Riley Reiff and let Pat Efflein walk while re-signing Dakota Dozier. Xavier Woods added to replace Anthony Harris.
Needs: Left Tackle, Left Guard, Will LB, third safety
Offensive line is the Vikings biggest need with two open starting spots. RG, Center and RT are set with Cleveland, Bradbury and O’Neil. Will LB is open but Eric Wilson is still a free agent. Third safety is a need to battle with Woods and CB always a need with two one year deals added.
Lions traded Stafford for Goff, two 1sts and a 3rd. Golladay got a big contract with Giants and Marvin Jones goes to Jacksonville. Lions added Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Kalif Raymon and Damion Ratley on one-year WR deals. Lions traded for Michael Brockers at DT and gave him a new contract and added Alex Anzalone at Will. Romeo Okwara returns on a 3 year 39 million dollar deal at DE. Re-signed Jalen Reeves Mabin but lost Jarrad Davis in free agency while cutting Christian Jones. Jamie Collins was restructured but will remain at MIKE LB. Justin Coleman was cut for cap room but Corn Elder got a one year deal to be the new nickel. Desmond Trufant was cut and signed with Chicago after they cut Kyle Fuller. Jessie James was cut and replaced by TE Josh Hill from the Saints. Jamaal Williams joins the Lions RB group on a 2 year deal from Green Bay. Tim Boyle was added to be the backup QB after cutting Chase Daniel.
Needs: LB, WR X2, Safety, Right Tackle, Guard depth, CB
Lions are in a rebuild and have needs at LB, WR and safety as the biggest needs. Collins and Anzalone can start but Detroit needs more and a playmaker and a LB that can cover well. WR is a big need despite two solid one year deals for Williams and Perriman. There should be a good one available at 7. Safety in play on day 2 with Harris struggling and Tracy Walker in a contract year. Right tackle is an issue. Tyrell Crosby started last year but is better as a backup swing tackle in a contract year. Vaitai will start at RG but the Lions need more guard depth.
Future QB could be in play if a good one falls to 7. The Lions like Jared Goff and he has had success in 2017 and 2018 (100 QB rating seasons). However, Detroit needs more protection, run game and firepower for him if Goff is to be successful.
Not So Smooth Moves
The Bears cut Kyle Fuller for cap reasons and signed Desmond Trufant. Allen Robinson returns on the franchise tag at WR. They also cut Buster Skrine at nickel. Deon Bush returns on a one year deal at FS. Germain Ifedi returns at RG but Bobby Massie still a FA at right tackle. Trubisky is gone and enter Andy Dalton after the Bears failed to trade for Russell Wilson. Dalton and Foles will battle to be the starter.
Mario Edwards re-signed on defense and Eddie Goldman returns from the opt out. Bears signed Christian Jones after the Lions cut him. Artie Burns returns at CB after an injury in 2020. DE Angelo Blackson was added from the Texans to replaced Robertson. Cairo Santos is the Bears long term kicker now. Cordarelle Patterson is a free agent now.
Needs: QB (always), CB, FS, Right Tackle, Oline depth, WR depth
Bears miss out on a franchise QB unless one drops in the draft. CB a big need with Trufant on a contract year and struggling with injuries. Upgrade over Bush at FS a need or third safety for Chicago. Right Tackle a need unless they bring Massie back. Oline depth required at tackle and guard. WR depth is solid with Riley Ridley but could upgrade here. Robinson in a contract year as well to pair with Mooney and Anthony Miller.
Draft is coming up on April 29 (Round 1), April 30 (Round 2-3) and May 1 (Round 4-7) in Cleveland Ohio.