Black and Blue all over: Free agency nears

We've got a pretty busy Thursday shaping up on what could be the last day of the salary cap in NFL history.

That's right. Unless a miracle occurs and the NFL reaches agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement with its players, the league will move to an uncapped environment Friday at 12:01 a.m. ET. Free agency will open with the new set of rules we've tried to explain in our CBAWatch discussions. Who knows what will happen in the future.

We're also keeping an eye on the restricted free-agent tenders in Detroit and Minnesota, who have yet to make their decisions official. And if any NFC North team is going to re-sign one of its unrestricted free agents, Thursday is the final day before they can hit the open market. (That means you, Chester Taylor.)

And finally, Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre is still scheduled to appear Thursday night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (11:30 p.m. ET). I'll let you know if any advance clips come our way, but otherwise will bring you his comments after they are televised.

For now, let's take our morning spin around the division:

  • The Vikings were engaged in contract discussions Wednesday with Taylor's agent, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. Zulgad also reports the Vikings will extend a first-round tender offer to defensive end Ray Edwards, a second-rounder to defensive tackle Fred Evans and a third-rounder to quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. All three players are restricted free agents.

  • Green Bay guard Daryn Colledge said on a radio show that he is likely to shop around for another team and might not participate in the early stages of the Packers' offseason program, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • Green Bay punter Jeremy Kapinos, who was not tendered a contract as an RFA: "While I do admit I needed to improve and I was at fault for some of it, I won't agree with anyone I was the lone liability. I think it's very irresponsible to place the blame on one person." Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has more.

  • Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew on the Lions' planned approach to free agency: "We're going to be aggressive, but selectively." Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press has more.

  • John Niyo of the Detroit News offers a position-by-position look at possible free-agency targets for the Lions.

  • Totally on board with this column from the Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei on the possibility of trading Bears tight end Greg Olsen: "But the Bears aren't going to get better by trading one of their best players. No team is. Anyone who thinks a team can improve by getting rid of a rising star is thinking too much."

  • With that said, Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com suggests New England would be a good landing spot for Olsen.

  • The Bears are "desperate" to improve their defense, writes Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times.