We're Black and Blue All Over:
We spent considerable time this offseason discussing the Chicago Bears' refusal to grant offensive line coach Mike Tice permission to interview for the Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator job. Shortly thereafter, the Bears adjusted Tice's contract to add another year and, presumably, more money.
Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times notes that the Bears didn't have as much success locking up another highly regarded assistant coach. Special teams coordinator Dave Toub turned down a contract extension because the Bears offered him what a source told Mulligan was a "minimal raise" that would not have put him among the top 10 highest-paid special teams coaches in the NFL.
I know no one wants to hear NFL coaches or players pleading poverty given their six-figure salaries, and it should be noted that Toub has made no public statement of dissatisfaction. The Bears certainly weren't obligated to give Toub a raise at a time of economic uncertainty caused by the lockout.
But as we always like to say, action and inaction have consequences. In this case, Toub's contract will expire after the 2011 season, making him eligible to leave the organization for another opportunity if he wants.
Continuing around the NFC North as we enter Draft Week 2011:
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune profiles Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, a Chicago-area native whom the Bears would love to draft with the No. 29 overall pick.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Arizona linebacker Brooks Reed, a possible target for the Green Bay Packers at No. 32 overall: "There's some risk with a guy like Reed because he is not the athlete that [Clay] Matthews is and may wind up being not that much better than Brad Jones or Frank Zombo."
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette notes the recent success other teams have had picking at No. 32 overall.
The Packers need to add depth at defensive end, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson believes he is headed for a "career year" in 2011, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
You can never have enough good defensive linemen, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com on the Lions' top strength.
Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News: "The fact that there are so many teams in need of a quarterback could help the Lions in terms of being able to move down in the draft and possibly acquire more picks from a team desperate for a quarterback. Also, if a number of quarterbacks go off the board ahead of the Lions at No. 13, a player they truly covet, say Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, could fall to them a little easier."
The Minnesota Vikings have spoken openly about trading down in the draft, notes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune on the drama unfolding at the Vikings' Winter Park facility: "All that's left is the decision that will play a significant role in determining the direction of this 51-year-old franchise: Will Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier and Co. use their first-round pick on a quarterback -- something the Vikings have done only two times -- and attempt to end a five-year string of stop-gaps at the position?"
Scouts aren't sold on the future of Joe Webb as a full-time quarterback, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.