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Notes from the North: 2018 free agency


The Bears made several splashes in the first waves of free agency. Wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, tight end Trey Burton, and quarterback Chase Daniel were the marquee names added to the roster, but throughout the depth chart, Chicago has added veteran pieces.

The rest of NFC North has been busy as well. All three of Chicago's biggest rivals made their own roster additions, while losing some players who inked elsewhere.

Here's a summary of who has entered and exited the NFC North since the start of the free agency:

Detroit Lions

Additions: Outside linebacker Devon Kennard (from Giants), inside linebacker Christian Jones (Bears), guard Kenny Wiggins (Chargers), tight end Luke Willson (Seahawks), running back LeGarrette Blount (Eagles).

Subtractions: Cornerback DJ Hayden (to Jaguars), tight end Eric Ebron (Colts), tight end Darren Fells (Browns), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (Eagles), safety Don Carey (Jaguars).

Summary: The Lions have been busy since hiring former New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as their head coach in early February. Patricia has looked to add physical players on both sides of the ball to make Detroit a tougher team. No player epitomizes that more than Blount, a bowling ball of a running back who ran for 18 touchdowns in 2016 and has won the Super Bowl each of the last two seasons playing for the Patriots and Eagles, respectively.

Green Bay Packers

Take a look at the list of the 15 best available players following the first week of free agency, according to

Additions: Tight end Jimmy Graham (Seahawks), defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets).

Subtractions: Safety Morgan Burnett (Steelers), wide receiver Jordy Nelson (Raiders).

Summary: Notoriously the quietest team every year when it comes to signing players from other teams, the Packers rarely dip their toe into the free agent pool. This year was a bit of a change in direction, as Green Bay added a high-priced player on both sides of the ball. Graham is one of the top receivers in football at his position, a player the Packers hope will mesh will with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Grahan marks the third tight end in as many years to sign with the Packers (Jared Cook in 2016, Martellus Bennett in 2017 – neither are still with the team). Wilkerson will be a pass-rushing threat on the Green Bay defensive line.

Minnesota Vikings

Additions: Quarterback Kirk Cousins (Redskins), defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (Seahawks).

Subtractions: Quarterback Case Keenum (Broncos), running back Jerick McKinnon (49ers), quarterback Sam Bradford (Cardinals), quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Jets), wide receiver Jarius Wright (Panthers).

Summary: After finishing a game away from the Super Bowl last season, the Vikings could have stood pat and tried again in 2018. Instead they got rid of three quarterbacks and added the top player on the market at the position, making Cousins the highest-paid player in the NFL. The loss of McKinnon will mean another change for the Minnesota offense, as he was a difference-maker both as a runner and receiver last season. Richardson is an impact defender who will add to an already-formative Vikings defense.

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