NFC North: Dennard Wilson
INDIANAPOLIS -- Good morning from the site of the NFL scouting combine, where we in the NFC North are still buzzing over the unexpected timing of Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley's new two-year contract. I weighed in Wednesday evening on the deal and the possibility of the Packers using their franchise tag on another player, and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has some important details about the structure of the deal.
The deal is officially two years for about $15 million, but according to Silverstein, it is more like a one-year deal worth $5.75 million with an option to add a more lucrative second season. The details: Finley will receive $5.75 million in 2012 and then be due a $4.45 million roster bonus soon after the 2013 free-agent market begins.
The Packers could decline the bonus, making Finley a free agent, or pick it up to keep him on their roster for 2013. In that case, Finley will receive $10.2 million in the first 13 months of the deal.
Regardless, the agreement crosses off an important offseason task for the Packers in a way that should be satisfactory for both sides. As Finley wrote on Twitter: "I could not be happier to have the privilege of being a Packer for the next 2 yrs. Glad to be back with my team & coaches for 1 common goal."
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Monday will be an important day at the combine for the Packers, writes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. It's the day when defensive linemen work out.
- North Carolina linebacker Zack Brown is an intriguing prospect for the Packers, writes Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel.
- Tagging quarterback Matt Flynn would at least temporarily put him $6 million above Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 2012 compensation, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
- New Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery will be in his element at the combine, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Bears pro scout Dennard Wilson is leaving the team to take a job as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Rams, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
- Justin Rogers of Mlive.com takes a closer look at the Detroit Lions' running game in 2011.
- Taking the "best player available" is an oversimplification of the Lions' draft philosophy, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
- Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune looks at four receivers who could help the Minnesota Vikings in 2012.
- Random Minnesota state legislators are introducing bills for a Vikings stadium even before the team and state leaders agree on a site and financing plan in Minneapolis. Doug Belden of the St. Paul Pioneer Press explains.
During our SportsNation chat Monday, Jeff of Wayne, N.J., asked:
Now that the Bears have [Jay] Cutler do they have any plans of getting someone he can throw the ball to? Everyone makes fun of them being without a decent QB for years but besides an aging [Muhsin] Muhammad they haven't done anything at WR either...
Bears fans waiting for their team to make a secondary run on the free agent market might not want to get their hopes up. In his regular Q&A with the team's Web site, general manager Jerry Angelo didn't sound too enthused about the idea.
Angelo: "I wouldn't rule it out totally. [Director of Pro Personnel] Bobby DePaul and his staff, Kevin Turks and Dennard Wilson, are always looking for veteran players at all positions that can upgrade us or create better competition. Bobby and his staff have done a great job of doing this over the years."
We've all seen how important words like "totally" can be. (See: "At this time.") But there are no indications the Bears are eager to start adding veterans to their roster. One who has almost no chance is defensive end Simeon Rice, who hasn't played since 2007 but has suggested he would like to play for new Bears defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.
Angelo: "At this point I doubt we'd be pursuing Simeon as an alternative. He was a great player and I really respect what he did for Tampa. I thought he was the missing link that put them over the top during their Super Bowl year."