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NFC North Rundown: Bears eyeing up big splashes as free agency kicks off

Trading for a franchise quarterback is not the only high-priced acquisition that Chicago may be looking to make.

Buffalo Bills v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

NFL free agency is officially under way, as signings were reported throughout the league on Monday. The Green Bay Packers made news of their own, extending Aaron Jones in the final hours before hitting the open market and maintaining relative stability in the backfield for 2021 and beyond. Elsewhere across the NFC North, the Packers’ rivals are also actively prowling over the free agent pool.

Perhaps no team in the division will be as fascinating this spring as the Chicago Bears, who franchise tagged a star wide receiver last week and appear to be negotiating deals to land a franchise quarterback. Bringing Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson to Chicago would likely be the most noteworthy acquisition of the offseason across the NFL. But almost as important as adding a star quarterback is being able to protect him.

Today’s rundown touches on the Bears’ costly pursuits to upgrade all around the offense, while touching on some early additions and subtractions in Detroit and Minnesota.

Chicago Bears

Bears free-agency primer: What to expect this week

Here is a quick-hitter piece on the Bears’ biggest positional needs, clues in gauging how imminent a deal for Russell Wilson will be, and the market for Mitchell Trubisky.

Report: Bears have checked in on Trent Williams

It isn’t a quarterback, but Chicago has at least kicked the tires on filling a hole at offensive tackle with perhaps the best one available.

What could an Allen Robinson contract look like?

Now that Robinson received the franchise tag, it is time for the Bears to work out a long-term deal and here is a target price for Robinson and his agent.

Minnesota Vikings

Grading the Vikings’ major offseason decisions so far

After a few releases and one early signing, here are some initial grades for the Vikings’ slew of moves.

Report: Vikings want WR Chad Beebe back

Minnesota appears to want to retain Beebe for receiving depth, but not at the restricted tender price.

Report: Vikings working on restructuring with LB Anthony Barr

A Preston Smith-like restructure may be in the works for Minnesota’s own veteran outside linebacker.

Detroit Lions

Source: Detroit Lions, Romeo Okwara agree to 3-year, $39M contract

Reports indicate that the Lions were able to lock up their most notable internal defensive free agent before losing him to the outside market.

Connection with coaching staff one of the reasons Williams wanted to come to Detroit

A familiarity with the Lions’ new offensive coordinator helped bring a veteran wide receiver to Detroit - one that believes he can run just about any route tree.

Lions lose Jarrad Davis, Jamal Agnew; cut Joe Dahl

Detroit’s elite return man scored a hefty deal with Jacksonville as free agency kicked off.