NFC North: Lay Matthews

We have emerged from the first weekend of NFL free agency with what I would imagine to be a 50-50 split in the NFC North. Chicago and Detroit fans appear happy with their teams' multiple acquisitions, while those affiliated with Green Bay and Minnesota are awaiting a first move.

I'm working on a post for later Monday on the irony of the Bears and Lions feeling compelled to pursue pass-rushers in this (formerly) Black and Blue division. Detroit has at least one deal pending for a cornerback. And we're also going to monitor the opening of the Williams Wall trial, which will start as scheduled Monday after working through a motion that threatened to delay it.

It's all coming on an NFC North blog near you. For now, let's catch up on the reaction to free agency in each market:

  • Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com: "Friday's bonanza was born as much of desperation as football savvy."
  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times: "It's unfortunate that Ted Phillips, Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith weren't in full butt-saving mode three years ago, when the Bears began their headfirst slide into mediocrity. If they had felt the urgency they're feeling now, who knows where this franchise would be?"
  • Defensive end Julius Peppers will have to adjust to playing in the Chicago media market, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
  • The Bears should pursue Rams safety O.J. Atogwe, suggests the Tribune's Dan Pompei.
  • To complete the Kyle Vanden Bosch deal, Detroit needs to draft Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh next month. John Niyo of the Detroit News explains why.
  • Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "Before the Lions lose the patience and squander the star ability of [Calvin] Johnson, they have to find someone to help him. That's why they paid an eyebrow-raising $25 million over five years ($11 million guaranteed) for [Nate] Burleson."
  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press: "The Lions have tried to make a big splash in free agency before, only to discover that there was no water in the pool. But this feels different. The signings of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nate Burleson and the trade for Corey Williams make sense, not just in a vacuum but in the context of what the Lions are trying to do. Finally, there is a plan."
  • New Jacksonville defensive end Aaron Kampman will play on the right side for the Jaguars, notes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Unless the Packers get linebacker Clay Matthews some help rushing the quarterback, they will be vulnerable to the kind of pass-happy attack that took them out of the playoffs in a 51-45 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in January."
  • Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Relax. If Brett Favre decides not to return in 2010, most of these mediocre free-agent quarterbacks still will be available. Plus, there isn't a college player in the upcoming draft that could step in and play the position immediately. So unless you want to get involved in the Donovan McNabb sweepstakes, what's the rush?"
  • Minnesota is scheduled to host kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd on a free-agent visit Monday, according to Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com.

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NFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 10/2
Sunday, 10/5