We're Black and Blue All Over:
Last week, Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley told ESPN he would not take a pay cut to remain with the team in 2013. This week, his agent did what agents should do -- leave every option open.
In an interview with Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, agent Blake Baratz said: "I would never just turn my nose up at anything. I will listen and hear anybody about anything and withhold judgment until I do."
The upshot of the story is that the Packers don't need to act until the end of this month. They don't need Finley's salary-cap space immediately, and his $3 million roster bonus -- which they wouldn't want to pay if he isn't going to be on the team in 2013 -- isn't due until March 27.
That's two weeks into the free-agent market, a time when big-spending teams have typically doled out their major dollars already. There would no doubt be interest in Finley at that time, but there would be less available salary-cap space for teams to make significant offers. Just something to think about.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Packers are eyeing place-kicker Michael Barnard as training camp competition for Mason Crosby, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Barnard has kicked in one game, in an indoor football league since leaving Farleigh Dickinson in 2008.
Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette speaks with former Packers fullback Jim Taylor about his condition at age 77.
Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com isn't expecting the Minnesota Vikings to spend big in free agency.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com thinks the Vikings are ready to move on from backup quarterback Joe Webb.
Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune rounds up some mock draft thoughts on the Vikings' first-round pick.
The Detroit Lions' signing of linebacker DeAndre Levy might make it tough to also retain linebacker Justin Durant, notes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Lions defensive tackle Sammie Hill appears set to test the free-agent market, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
For the Free Press, Brendan Kirby updates the Alabama legal situation of Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com looks at the free-agent defensive tackle market from the Lions' perspective.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune profiles the new business venture of former Chicago Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer.
ESPNChicago.com has a slideshow of possible Bears free-agent targets.