The NFC North Could Look Completely Different in 2022
It’s been a bit of a crazy 2021 NFL season for the teams in the NFC North not only on the field, but also off of it. We may be just getting started in terms of the off-the-field drama. No single team is going to be able to escape it. Here are some of the biggest questions for each NFC North team going into the offseason.
Who Will Be the Next Head Coach of the Chicago Bears?
Going into 2021, Matt Nagy was one bad season away from getting the axe in Chicago. It seems crazy that things could sour so quickly for someone who just won Coach of the Year in 2018, but that’s life in the NFL. Admittedly, Nagy wasn’t put in a great position when the Bears lost much of their offensive line to injury, Kyle Fuller left the team, and they were put in a position to start either Andy Dalton or rookie Justin Fields at QB.
However, with Chicago now sitting at 5-10, it seems almost certain that Nagy will be out of Chicago at season’s end. There are a number of coaches looking to get NFL jobs, including a former NFC North head coach. We will have to wait and see who takes on the task of being the next head coach of the Chicago Bears.
What Do the Lions Do with Jared Goff?
During the 2021 offseason, the Detroit Lions were part of the biggest trade in the league. Detroit sent long-time QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and multiple draft picks. Detroit went into the season expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL, and that has certainly happened. They’ve gone on a recent stretch of strong games, but still sit at 2-11-1.
However, this recent stretch of games has taken them out of the top spot in the NFL draft, and another win could cause them to tumble out of the top-3 in the 2022 draft order. If they do continue to tumble, do they dare take a QB with their first-round pick? Even if they don’t take a QB, do they try to find a Jared Goff suitor and acquire even more draft capital? There are certainly a lot of teams that feel a QB away from contention, so it has to be something that’s at least crossed the minds of those in Detroit’s front office.
Where Will Aaron Rodgers/Davante Adams Play in 2022?
In terms of production, few players have the type of offensive impact that the duo of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams have had for the Packers. That said, the 2021 season got off to a rocky start when Adams didn’t get an extension from Green Bay, and Rodgers was nowhere to be seen for much of training camp. To top it all off, both players posted a “Last Dance” image on their Instagram stories at one point, making it seem like this may be the duo’s last year in Green Bay.
Winning cures all, though, and tensions have seemed to cool as the season has worn on. Adams has said that he’s open to staying in Green Bay, and Rodgers seems less hell-bent on this being his final season in green and gold. However, at least for Rodgers, the question of where he will play has recently been replaced with IF he will play in 2022. In a recent interview, he said that retirement is an option that is on the table following 2021. All eyes will be on Green Bay’s stars this spring/summer.
Do the Vikings Clean House?
The Minnesota Vikings, despite not having as big of names as someone like Aaron Rodgers or Davante Adams, may have the most drama out of any NFC North team when we head into the 2022 offseason. There is a world where the Vikings are looking for a new GM, head coach, offensive coordinator, and starting quarterback ahead of the 2022 season. The question as to whether or not Mike Zimmer will be fired has quickly gone from “if” to “when”, despite clamoring from some that the grass may not be greener on the other side.
With Kirk Cousins due a massive $45 million in 2022, it seems more likely that he gets an extension than a trade out of Minneapolis, but it still certainly remains a possibility. Likewise with Rick Spielman, he has some acquisitions and draft picks on his slate that some GMs would have already been fired for, but he also has some terrific wins in those departments as well. Let’s not forget how he revamped the Vikings interior defensive line seemingly overnight this offseason. However, Minnesota is a franchise looking for change, so it remains likely that someone will be gone this offseason. The only question is, how many people will get the axe?