NFL Nation: Cody Spencer
Of all the RFAs listed in the post immediately preceding this one, only two did not receive a tender: Linebacker Cody Spencer and defensive end Copeland Bryan. According to the News' John Niyo, defensive end Jason Hunter is the only RFA who got an elevated tender. That means the Lions would receive a second-round pick in compensation if they decided against matching an offer Hunter might receive.
Guard Daniel Loper received a low tender. The remaining RFAs received original-round tenders.
Potential unrestricted free agents: Linebacker Darrell McClover, defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, running back Adrian Peterson, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa.
Potential restricted free agents: Defensive end Mark Anderson, safety Josh Bullocks, safety Danieal Manning, linebacker Nick Roach, linebacker Jamar Williams.
Franchise player: None
What to expect: With no picks in the first or second round of next month's draft, the Bears are gearing up for a relatively major jump into free agency. They're expected to bid for defensive end Julius Peppers and possible safety Antrel Rolle and would also like to re-sign linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna could also be a target. Manumaleuna played for new offensive coordinator Mike Martz in St. Louis.
Potential unrestricted free agents: Linebacker Vinny Ciurciu, offensive lineman Damion Cook, quarterback Daunte Culpepper, tight end Casey Fitzsimmons, linebacker Larry Foote, tight end Will Heller, cornerback Anthony Henry, cornerback Will James, offensive lineman Jon Jansen, safety Marquand Manuel, quarterback Patrick Ramsey.
Potential restricted free agents: Defensive end Copeland Bryan, offensive lineman Dylan Gandy, defensive lineman Jason Hunter, offensive lineman Daniel Loper, offensive lineman Manny Ramirez, safety Ko Simpson, linebacker Cody Spencer.
Franchise player: None
What to expect: The Lions aren't likely to be as active as they were last year, but general manager Martin Mayhew said over the winter that he could envision a five- or six-man free agent class. Running back, defensive end and defensive back are all positions they will investigate. They'll also need to find a backup quarterback, assuming Daunte Culpepper moves on.
Green Bay Packers
Potential unrestricted free agents: Offensive lineman Chad Clifton, running back Ahman Green, linebacker Aaron Kampman, offensive lineman Mark Tauscher.
Potential restricted free agents: Safety Atari Bigby, defensive back Will Blackmon, offensive lineman Daryn Colledge, safety Nick Collins, defensive end Johnny Jolly, running back John Kuhn, offensive lineman Jason Spitz, cornerback Tramon Williams.
Franchise player: Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett
What to expect: The Packers will have a demanding offseason filled with difficult decisions. To this point, they haven't re-signed either of their starting offensive tackles. They are clearly approaching injured linebacker Aaron Kampman with caution. And they have a long line of restricted free agents who would like long-term contracts, starting with Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins. The Packers have more than enough to keep them busy, but they haven't dabbled much in free agency in recent years, anyway.
Potential unrestricted free agents: Offensive lineman Artis Hicks, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, cornerback Benny Sapp, running back Chester Taylor.
Potential restricted free agents: Offensive lineman Ryan Cook, defensive end Ray Edwards, defensive tackle Fred Evans, safety Eric Frampton, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, fullback Naufahu Tahi.
Franchise player: None.
What to expect: The Vikings are awaiting word from quarterback Brett Favre on the 2010 season, a decision that could impact their offseason plans. They would like tailback Chester Taylor back, but it's possible Taylor will at least test his value on the open market. As a Final Four team, the Vikings will be limited to signing players that have been released by other teams unless they lose one of their own unrestricted free agents first.
1. Tendering a 1-year contract, OR
2. "Non-tendering" the player, essentially cutting ties.
Remember, a restricted free agent (RFA) is a player with four or five years of experience whose contract has expired. Those players are free to seek offers elsewhere, but current teams at least have the right to match that offer and keep the player. Depending on the level of contract tender, the team could also receive draft-pick compensation.
If the player doesn't sign an offer sheet elsewhere, and can't agree on a long-term contract, he plays at the salary in the chart below. (There are slightly higher values for players in their fifth seasons.)
Because of the addition of a fifth year to the RFA list in the uncapped year, an additional 212 players are scheduled to be restricted free agents this offseason. Below is a list of the primary RFAs for each NFC North team.
There have been some reports about individual tenders, but no team has officially released its decisions. That will happen sometime between now and Thursday night. When it does, we'll analyze how easy or difficult it will be for those tendered to move on to another team.
Chicago Bears: Defensive end Mark Anderson, safety Josh Bullocks, safety Danieal Manning, linebacker Nick Roach, linebacker Jamar Williams.
Detroit Lions: Defensive end Copeland Bryan, offensive lineman Dylan Gandy, defensive lineman Jason Hunter, offensive lineman Daniel Loper, offensive lineman Manny Ramirez, safety Ko Simpson, linebacker Cody Spencer.
Green Bay Packers: Safety Atari Bigby, defensive back Will Blackmon, offensive lineman Daryn Colledge, safety Nick Collins, defensive end Johnny Jolly, running back John Kuhn, offensive lineman Jason Spitz, cornerback Tramon Williams, running back DeShawn Wynn.
Minnesota Vikings: Offensive lineman Ryan Cook, defensive end Ray Edwards, defensive tackle Fred Evans, safety Eric Frampton, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, cornerback Karl Paymah, fullback Naufahu Tahi.
To read all of our award-winning CBAWatch discussion, click here.
Let's run through our nightly catch-up of today's free agency news around the NFC North. Check back for late-breaking updates:
- Detroit re-signed running back/kick returner Aveion Cason and also signed former Tennessee linebacker Cody Spencer. That makes three former Titans who have joined new Lions coach Jim Schwartz: Spencer, cornerback Eric King and offensive lineman Daniel Loper. Spencer is primarily a special teams player who spent the past three seasons with the New York Jets. Cason has been with the Lions off and on since 2001.
- Minnesota re-signed cornerback Benny Sapp, who served as the Vikings' nickel back after Charles Gordon dislocated his ankle midway through last season. Gordon re-signed last month.
- Green Bay fullback John Kuhn, a restricted free agent, was scheduled to visit Cincinnati. The Packers will have the right to match any offer Kuhn receives.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
New York Jets
- The Jets are leaving Hofstra University after 40 years. J.P. Pelzman of the Bergen Record looks back.
- New York Daily News reporter Rich Cimini catches up with QB Kellen Clemens, who says if all goes right, then Thursday night will be the last time he's seen in 2008.
- Lenn Robbins of the New York Post writes the Jets' running game "has been harder on the eyes than the price of gas."
- The Newark-Star Ledger's Dave Hutchinson wants to know when Brett Favre and the rebuilt O-line will help the ground game.
- Associated Press reporter Dennis Waszak Jr. shares the story of LB Cody Spencer, who's no longer distracted by Iraq.
- Buffalo News columnist Bob DiCesare weighs in on whether the NFL should go to 17 games and reduce the preseason.
- Buffalo News reporter Allen Wilson provides injury updates on QB Trent Edwards and T Langston Walker among others.
- Rodney McKissic of the Buffalo News writes about the impact the Bills hope to get from their DEs.
- Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle checks in with LB John DiGiorgio.
- Andy Kent of MiamDolphins.com details OLB Joey Porter's growing frustrations over repeated injuries.
- Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson breaks down the Dolphins' biggest remaining position battles.
- The Herald's Greg Cote writes about rookie K Dan Carpenter's journey from Montana to Miami.
- Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post writes the Dolphins intend to use RB Ronnie Brown in Thursday night's preseason finale.
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly writes Porter's latest injury isn't believed to be serious.
New England Patriots
- Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe suggests Carrot Top might be working the Patriots' locker room.
- Boston Globe writer Mike Reiss asks fans not to jump off The Pru in his always-enlightening mailbag.
- Shalise Manza Young of the Providence Journal writes about the difficult job of telling a player he's not good enough.
- Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian takes a look ahead to what the Patriots have to do to get to 53.
- Globe reporter Nancy Marrapese-Burrell takes a tour of the Hall at Patriot Place and writes "the three-story structure promises to be stunning."