NFC North Round-Up: Final Offseason Moves for Each Team
This week, we check another milestone off the list of list of notable NFL offseason dates. OTAs officially get started for the Minnesota Vikings this week, thus further noting that the 2023 season is right around the corner. That being said, every team in the league could still make a move or two to improve their rosters before Week 1 officially gets here. Today, we will go over a few final offseason moves for each of the NFC North teams.
Chicago Bears: Inquire about a Trade for Quinnen Williams
An interesting situation has developed over the past few days regarding one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL. Quinnen Williams, a first-team All-Pro player in 2022, recently changed his Twitter bio to “Defensive Tackle for ……………….” while his most recent retweet is of Adam Schefter’s report on Dexter Lawrence’s four-year/$90 million contract with the New York Giants.
The message appears to be simple: the defensive tackle wants to get paid, or he’ll try to leave New York. Currently, Williams is set to make $9.5 million in the final year of his rookie deal before hitting free agency next offseason.
Here’s the problem for the Jets, though. Not only do they only have about $6 million in cap space remaining for 2023, but they are currently a whopping $43.2 million over the cap for 2024, based on Over the Cap‘s estimated $256 million salary cap.
That severely hinders New York’s ability to pay the defensive tackle, and the Chicago Bears could certainly use a premier pass-rushing presence on their defensive front. Additionally, they have $32.6 million to play with this year and nearly $98 million for next year. If anyone can afford to pay Williams, it’s Chicago, so they should at least give New York a call and see what it would take to land the star lineman.
Detroit Lions: Sign Another Pass-Rusher
The Detroit Lions actually totaled more sacks (39) in 2022 than any other NFC North team, but they still ranked among the bottom half of the league. If Detroit wants to make a serious run at making the playoffs this season, they should try to find another veteran pass-rusher to play opposite of Aidan Hutchinson.
James Houston emerged over the final stretch of the season for Detroit, recording eight sacks in seven games, but three of those sacks came against the Chicago Bears in Week 17. It’s tough to say if he will be able to recreate that magic from last season, so perhaps another Houston could be on Detroit’s radar in Justin Houston.
The 34-year-old certainly isn’t the All-Pro player that he was earlier in his career, but he can still pick his spots to be a very productive player. In 2022, he put together 9.5 sacks, which would have tied with Aidan Hutchinson for the most on the Lions defense last year.
Green Bay Packers: Find a Veteran Backup QB
The Packers officially moved on from Aaron Rodgers this offseason, meaning that Jordan Love is set to take his first snaps as a full-time starter at the NFL level. That’s all fine and good, but there’s one little problem with that: no other QB on the Packers roster has taken a snap at the NFL level.
Currently, the backups behind Love are fifth-round pick Sean Clifford and Danny Etling, who has bounced around as a practice squad guy since being seventh-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2018.
It would be nice if Green Bay had some veteran presence to help guide and mentor Love during the inevitable ups and downs of the 2023 season, and with guys like Nick Foles and Carson Wentz on the open market, perhaps the Packers will target one of them in the coming weeks.
Minnesota Vikings: Extensions, Extensions, Extensions
The obvious choice here is Justin Jefferson. The biggest remaining storyline of the Vikings offseason is the star wide receiver’s looming contract extension and exactly how much it will cost. However, hopefully Minnesota will be able to make the finishing touches on multiple contract extensions before the offseason comes to an end.
Some of the other potential extension candidates on the list include left guard Ezra Cleveland, tight end T.J. Hockenson, EDGE Danielle Hunter, and wide receiver K.J. Osborn. Inevitably, not everyone from this group will get new contracts with the Vikings, but the hope has to be that Minnesota can get at least Jefferson and one of these other four done.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.