ALLEN PARK — It’s been a busy week inside the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers started the action by rejoining the Green Bay Packers in arguably the most anticipated news of the offseason.
The Packers weren’t finished, however. Green Bay traded star receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for a series of draft picks Thursday night. Adams then signed a massive five-year extension with his new team, with the sports world awaiting Rodgers’ reaction. National reports say the quarterback was aware of the developments after making it clear he didn’t want to continue playing for a rebuild. Green Bay wasn’t the only NFC North team making big moves. The Chicago Bears sent Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers. They also said goodbye to other fundamental defensive plays. It feels like a partially new world inside the division, but not as open with Rodgers back in the fold. We will update this post with any moves from the weekend. That said, let’s take a look at what each team in the division did last week:
Green Bay Packers
Wow, where to start? We’ll start with the news, as Davante Adams now plays for the Las Vegas Raiders. Yeah, it happened. Adams was traded to Las Vegas for the Pick 22 and Pick 53 in this year’s draft. The star receiver reportedly signed a five-year, $141.25 million extension with his new team. That’s good news for your Detroit Lions, not to mention every cornerback in the division. Adams is arguably the best receiver in the game. The five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro caught 123 passes for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Adams has at least 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in three of the previous four seasons.
Aaron Rodgers started the week by announcing his intention to return in 2022 with the Packers. The reigning four-time MVP will receive $150 million over the next three years. His guaranteed money includes $74.5 million in the first year. The Packers now have four picks in the first two rounds. Are they finally adding a Day 1 wide receiver? And while they’re the big names, the Packers aren’t done there. They introduced receiver Allen Lazard. Green Bay extended linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and setter Preston Smith. Campbell got $50 million over five years. Smith was awarded $52.5 million over four years by the NFL Network.
Za’Darius Smith was initially okay with the Ravens but is back on the open market. We’ll see what happens with the talented pass rusher. The Packers also lost guard Lucas Patrick to the Chicago Bears. The Packers also lost guard Lucas Patrick to the Chicago Bears and linebacker Oren Burks to the San Francisco 49ers. Wideouts Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, not to mention tight end Robert Tonyan and tackle Billy Turner remain free agents.
These are more losses than additions. The Bears lost receivers Allen Robinson (Rams) and Jakeem Grant (Browns). They added guard Lucas Patrick, linebacker Nicholas Morrow and long snapper Patrick Scales. They also saw offensive linemen James Daniel (Steelers) and Alex Bars (Raiders) bid farewell. Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi originally signed, but failed on his physique and returned to the market.
That’s not why we’re here, though. Robinson’s departure is significant because he leaves the Bears with a second-year quarterback and not much else. Chicago released running back Tarik Cohen, defensive lineman Eddie Goldman and linebacker Danny Trevathan. As if that weren’t enough to give their defense a punch, the Bears then sent star passing thrower Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers for a second- and sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. It’s going to be difficult to replace some of that production on the defensive side of the ball. With a new head coach and general manager, the Bears are embarking on a makeover.
Kirk Cousins continues to get paid. The quarterback is sticking around for another run after signing a one-year, $35 million guaranteed extension. Cousins is under team control through 2023. That was one of the most pressing issues heading into the offseason, with Minnesota hiring Kevin O’Connell as coach and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as general manager. The Vikings released Michael Pierce, signing Harrison Phillips to a three-year, $19.5 million defensive line deal. Minnesota also added linebacker Jordan Hicks ($10 million for two years) and punter Jordan Berry. Safety Xavier Woods (Panthers) and center Mason Cole (Steelers) have signed elsewhere. Pierce remains in the market. Linebackers Anthony Barr and Nick Vigil and cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander and Patrick Peterson are also free agents.
There have been reports from the Star Tribune that Minnesota is buying Danielle Hunter. His cap hits $25.83 million next season, with an $18 million bonus slated for this weekend. The two-time Pro Bowler is 27 years old. But he missed nine games after not playing in 2020. Hunter has 60.5 sacks in 85 career games, and would be sure to win all the way despite that big hit. Adam Thielen would have accepted a restructured contract. There are no details on this move yet. We will update this post once that happens.
The Lions spent most of their time dealing with inside options last week. Wide receiver DJ Chark and tight end Garrett Griffin are the only two outside players signed to Detroit. See below for links summarizing the past week around these games:
Detroit Lions reportedly sign former Saints tight end Garrett Griffin
Free agent WR DJ Chark lured to Detroit by coaching staff, opportunity to shine on offense
Detroit Lions also re-sign QB David Blough, while Jalen Reeves-Maybin leaves for Texans payday
Detroit Lions lower DJ Chark’s immediate cap to $4 million pushing dead money to next season
Why Lions safety Tracy Walker told her agent, ‘(beep), we’re going back to Detroit’
LB Alex Anzalone credits culture change, chance to leave legacy to re-sign with Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions reportedly re-sign fast receiver Kalif Raymond to 2-year deal
Detroit Lions re-sign breakout passer Charles Harris to 2-year deal
Detroit Lions bolster offensive line by signing Evan Brown to one-year deal