• Arjun Menon

Free Agency Needs: NFC North

With the 2020 NFL season finally over, the preparation for the 2021 season has finally begun. The 2021 NFL salary cap will be at $182.5 million, and will likely be making strategic moves to make sure they are under the cap before the season starts. The Tactician analyzes which positions each team should target and what free agents are affordable for each team and can fit that role. We will cover the NFC North in this article.

Detroit Lions:

Offensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.014 (20th)

Defensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.205 (32nd)

Draft Position: 7th

Team Needs: WR, IDL, S

  • With Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola all free agents, the Lions best WR that is signed is Quintez Cephus. Look for them to either franchise-tag Golladay, or draft a WR like Jaylen Waddle or Jamarr Chase in the first round.

  • The Lions had the 30th ranked EPA/rush allowed this past year and struggled to stop the run all year. They need a run-stuffing DT very badly for next season.

  • The Patriots traded for Duron Harmon because Matt Patricia coached him in New England, but with Patricia gone, Harmon might not be brought back, so finding a ball-hawk safety to replace him (in this stacked FA safety class) is essential.

Minnesota Vikings:

Offensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.089 (10th)

Defensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.095 (25th)

Draft Position: 14th

Team Needs: Edge, OT, CB

  • After losing Danielle Hunter to a season-ending injury, and trading Yannick Ngakoue mid-season, the Vikings pass rush was dormant (30th in pass rush win rate) and needs a shake-up to revitalize this unit. Using their 14th pick on a guy like Kwity Paye or Gregory Rousseau could be in play here.

  • The Vikings finished the year ranked 28th in pressure rate allowed, and have an opening at LG to fill. Riley Rieff could also be a cap casualty leading to another hole they have to fill

  • Cameron Dantzler had a very solid rookie year, but first-rounder Jeff Gladney struggled in the slot (124.7 passer rating allowed). Finding more consistent production in the backend should be a priority for Mike Zimmer

Chicago Bears:

Offensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.017 (10th)

Defensive EPA/Play (Rank): -0.026 (24th)

Draft Position: 20th

Team Needs: QB, WR, CB

  • The Chicago Bears’s QB controversy led to them posting inefficient passing totals and their downfall in the playoffs. Mitch Trubiski has proven to be a liability under center with only 1 playoff season as a full starter

  • Behind Allen Robinson, the Chicago Bears are very inexperienced and have lacked production over the past two seasons. Darnell Mooney showed promise as a rookie but with Allen Robinson being franchise-tagged, a secondary WR should be a point of emphasis.

  • Kyle Fuller has been exceptional in his time with the bears but Chicago must compliment him to maintain their championship-level defense.

Green Bay Packers:

Offensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.218 (1st)

Defensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.033 (14th)

Draft Position: 30th

Team Needs: ILB, RB, CB

  • With a lackluster season from their free-agent signing, Christian Kirksey, the Packers became reliant on 5th rounder Kamal Martin and UNDFA Krys Barnes. New Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry will most likely want to build depth at ILB to add to his scheme.

  • With Aaron Jones being a hot commodity throughout the league this offseason and limited cap space for the Packers will make it nearly impossible for him to return to Green Bay. Last season the Packers drafted AJ Dillon, the freight train out of BC who was finally showcased near the end of the season. The Packers need a shifty RB2 to complete the 1-2 punch. Free Agent James White could be a strong target for them.

  • After watching Kevin King get torched throughout the NFC Championship in his contract year, it is no secret that the Packers will most likely not be resigning him. With that being said the Packers need another solid and speedy corner to complement Jaire Alexander’s playstyle on the other side.

Contributors: Arjun Menon, Ray Matera, Anthony Molina, and Sam Mattson.

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