All the action of the NFL offseason is growing ever closer, and yesterday’s announcement of the official salary cap heading into the 2023 league year (a new record-high salary cap) is just the latest reminder of that. In that spirit, here are 4 bold offseason predictions for every NFC North team in the latest edition of the NFC North Round-Up.
The Bears Trade Twice in the First Round of the Draft
The Chicago Bears are in the very interesting situation where they hold the No. 1 overall pick just two years after they selected a QB in Justin Fields that has taken massive steps as a player in his first two NFL seasons.
Now, the Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves in the same position last year, but the 2022 Draft class did not have any QBs worth taking that high. Because of that, Jacksonville had to stick-and-pick at No. 1 overall.
Chicago’s decision is much more intricate. There are four quarterbacks circulating as potential top 10 picks right now in Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson.
Meanwhile, they are one of the few teams in that top 10 that don’t have a glaring need at the quarterback position. Namely, the Houston Texans (No. 2 pick), Indianapolis Colts (No. 4 pick), Seattle Seahawks (No. 5 pick via DEN), Las Vegas Raiders (No. 7 pick), and Carolina Panthers (No. 9 pick).
The Bears have a chance to seriously pile up draft capital in both this draft and in years to come. I think they take full advantage of that and trade twice in within the first round.
The Lions Extend Jared Goff’s Contract
When the Lions traded Matthew Stafford in exchange for Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick, the draft capital looked like the most valuable part of that exchange. While the draft picks remain great, especially considering they have the No. 6 overall pick as a result of this trade, Goff’s value has gone way up in the past two seasons as wel.
In 2022, the Lions finished the season by winning 8 of their final 10 games, and Goff’s play was a huge reason for that. In all, he completed 65.1% of his passes for 4438 yards, 29 TDs, and 7 INTs.
The Lions head into the offseason in a decent salary cap situation, effectively sitting around $2.4 million under the salary cap, per Over the Cap. However, the Lions could save nearly $20 million extra by offering Goff another contract extension. Currently, their QB is under contract through 2024, but he seems to have earned the opportunity to stick around. Because of that, I think the two sides work out a deal this offseason.
The Packers Draft Another QB
No, this isn’t going to be another Jordan Love situation where the Packers draft a QB in the first round of the draft, but it does make sense for them to go after another guy somewhere in Day Three.
The trade rumors have only grown regarding Aaron Rodgers, especially after his former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett took a job with the New York Jets. If Rodgers continues going down a Favre-sian path and heads to the Jets, that leaves Jordan Love as QB1 in Green Bay.
Love has played well in the few opportunities that he’s gotten, but it would make sense for the Packers to bring in competition for that starting quarterback spot. This could come either through the draft or in free agency; perhaps they could acquire QBs through both routes.
The Vikings Part Ways with at Least 6 Defensive Starters
The Vikings have done half the job of fixing their defense by getting rid of coordinator Ed Donatell. However, the other half revolves around revamping their personnel on that side of the ball.
On top of that, they need to free up large amounts of cap space just to break even ahead of free agency. Most of the big contracts for the Vikings are on the defense and moving on from their veterans can help free up the valuable cap space that they need.
Many of their starters in 2022 were above the age of 30 too, and it continuously looked like they just couldn’t keep up with opponents on that side of the ball. I think the Vikings are in for a complete overhaul of their defensive unit, and there will be at least 6 new starters there in 2023.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.