Friday, March 1, 2013
Eight in the Box: Quarterback situations
By Kevin Seifert
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week's topic: How each NFC North team needs to address the quarterback position.
Chicago Bears: First, the new coach Marc Trestman must decide whether he thinks Jay Cutler is the team's long-term starter. Cutler's contract expires after the 2013 season, giving the Bears a chance to move on if Trestman is disappointed. Assuming he is not, the Bears must get Cutler signed to an extension over the next 12 months or be forced to use their 2014 franchise tag on him.
Of more immediate concern is Cutler's backup. Jason Campbell is a pending free agent, but the Bears might not want to devote the $3-$4 million in cap space it would require to re-sign him. Josh McCown, the 2012 third-stringer, could be an option.
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford's $20.8 million cap figure needs to be lowered, and talks are underway on a contract extension. Regardless, he is the Lions' long-term starter. Backup Shaun Hill, 33, is signed through the 2013 season. He is a favorite of the coaching staff and is unlikely to be replaced by Kellen Moore, the 2012 third-stringer.
Green Bay Packers: Starter Aaron Rodgers' 2013 compensation of $9.75 million is well below market value and will lead to contract talks, but there is every expectation that he will play his entire career in Green Bay. Backup Graham Harrell played sparingly last season and could conceivably be challenged by 2012 draft choice B.J. Coleman.
Minnesota Vikings: Team officials have committed to Christian Ponder as their unquestioned starter, buoyed by his strong performance at the end of last season. Ponder will need a more consistent season in 2013 to generate "franchise" status, but the Vikings will give him every opportunity.
Backup Joe Webb will be forced to win his job back, probably in a training camp competition against a veteran to be acquired. Webb was thrown into an admittedly tough position as a surprise playoff starter, but his performance still cast doubt on whether he should be entrusted with the role moving forward.