Monday, July 25, 2011

NFC North Free Agency Outlooks

Home to the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, the NFC North might be the most competitive division in football with the Detroit Lions making huge strides towards being a respectable franchise. Could be the division where everyone wins at least 8 games. Here's how the division's free agency picture looks.

Chicago Bears Top Needs: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
Top Targets: Look for the Bears to re-sign the not-so-lean and mean Olin Kreutz who gives that offensive line its toughness. However, the Bears need to keep quarterback Jay Cutler upright for those long routes that offensive coordinator Mike Martz loves to call. Other good options for that purpose are Doug Free, Carl Nicks, and Ryan Kalil. On the defensive side, getting to the quarterback needs to be a priority because the Bears are always stout against the run with their linebacking core. Jason Babin is a hard working defensive end that could go a long way towards making the Chicago defense the toughest in the league, but Charles Johnson, Ray Edwards, and Cliff Avril could also work out nicely.

Detroit Lions Top Needs: Cornerback, Linebacker, Anyone who can cover
Top Targets: Nmandi Asomugha is the only guy that could solve the Lions pass defense by himself, but Asomugha has stated that he wants to go to a team that could contend immediately. Another option could be, Even though he can't catch, Carlos Rogers. He is an elite cover corner and will be able to give the Lions scary-good defensive line more time to get to the Quarterback. Other options could be Johnathan Joseph, Eric Wright, or Drayton Florence. At linebacker, Stephen Tulloch would go a long way to provide some leadership for what is an inexperienced linebacking core. Other good options would be Barrett Ruud, Rocky McIntosh, or D'Qwell Jackson.

Green Bay Packers Top Needs: Defensive Line, Linebacker
Top Targets: Cullen Jenkins will be the key to the Packers offseason. If Green Bay is able to resign the elite 3-4 defensive end, then the packers can shift their attention to creating some depth in the linebacking core and the offensive line. Look for Green Bay to stay relatively quiet in the free agent market (other than Jenkins) and look for more depth guys like Thomas Howard, Jacques Cesaire, and Marcus Spears on the defensive side of the ball and Deuce Lutui, Olin Kreutz, and Jonathan Goodwin on the offensive line.

Minnesota Vikings Top Needs: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Top Targets: Look for Minnesota to aggressively pursue quarterback Donovan McNabb with plan B being Matt Hasselbeck to help usher in the Christian Ponder era in 2012. No matter who is throwing the ball, there needs to be someone to catch it, and with top target Sidney Rice becoming a free agent, there needs to be a focus on getting guys that can catch the ball. There are a ton of options from the big names of Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Santonio Holmes to the lesser known Malcolm Floyd, Steve Breaston, and James Jones. No matter which way the Vikings decide to go, they must go one of those routes.

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