We're Black and Blue All Over:
Here's a smart take from Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that I would love to clip and save as a response to everyone asking for updates on the Green Bay Packers' negotiations with their free agents.
Silverstein notes that historically, once the offseason begins, the Packers don't sign their free agents until the brink of the free-agent market opening or shortly thereafter. That's often the best time for negotiations, as long as you can stomach the risk of pushing the deadline, and it also provides the fullest sense of what the market should be for a player.
So if you're hoping that the Packers will soon sign tight end Jermichael Finley or center Scott Wells, then you might be a little optimistic. History shows a deal is far more likely on March 11 or March 12 than it is on Feb. 16.
Continuing around the NFC North:
"Creative thinking" is the key to building a good coaching staff, according to Packers coach Mike McCarthy via Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The White Earth tribe is proposing a casino that would help pay for a Minnesota Vikings stadium, according to the Star Tribune.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton urged state legislators to pass a stadium bill this spring during his annual State of the State address, notes the Associated Press.
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com looks at the future of the Chicago Bears' linebacker position.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes on the departure of longtime Bears athletic trainer Tim Bream. Haugh: "The loss of Bream will affect some players even more than losing a position coach because of the rare bond Bream's personal approach fostered with stars and subs alike."
The Bears hosted a forum Wednesday for concussion awareness on the high school level. Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times has more.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press examines whether the Detroit Lions could select an offensive tackle in the first round of the draft.
Lions receiver Titus Young was named the team's rookie of the year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, notes the Detroit News.