Around NFC North: Packers hope to keep Detroit’s Perry
Indianapolis — As the NFL scouting combine gets underway, nearly every coach and general manager takes questions from the media. While our focus is obviously on the Detroit Lions, we checked in with the leaders of the other teams in the NFC North to get the latest on their teams’ big offseason issues.
In Green Bay, the Packers have a number of key players hitting free agency. Sticking with the organizational philosophy of draft, develop and retain, the team’s goal is to keep its best players set to hit the open market.
That includes rush linebacker Nick Perry, the former first-round pick and Detroit native who put it all together last season, finishing with 11 sacks.
“Nick Perry, he had some injury issues in his early years, but Nick is a hell of a football player,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Nick is one of our guys. He’s a powerful man. I have a lot of love for Nick and what he’s gone through. His first couple years were frustrating, just to watch him go through the injuries. Hopefully he’s someone that we can get his contract worked out.”
McCarthy was also optimistic about the Packers being able to re-sign running back Eddie Lacy and guard T.J. Lang (Eastern Michigan), who are both rehabbing from offseason surgeries. McCarthy said he doesn’t expect Lang to be ready before training camp.
For the Vikings, the team made the difficult decision to not pick up the 2017 option on Adrian Peterson’s contract, but general manager Rick Spielman isn’t ruling out re-signing the running back, depending on how the market shakes out.
“I talked to Adrian and I was very specific with him,” Spielman said. “I talked to his representative as well. I believe in putting everything up front and on the table. I told him there are some areas we would like to address. The one thing you can’t predict is what the market is going to be.”
Spielman declined to speculate on what Peterson’s market may be.
As for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who suffered a devastating leg injury just before the start of last season, there’s still no timetable for his return.
“There is no timeline because there hasn’t been an injury like this at that position,” Spielman said. “All we’re focused on now is rehabbing and trying to get him back on the field, when he’s passed a physical, as quickly as we possibly can.”
Finally, the Chicago Bears are close to being in a full rebuild. Many expect the team to move on from quarterback Jay Cutler, and star receiver Alshon Jeffery, who played under the franchise tag last season, is set to hit the open market.
Coach John Fox would love to have Jeffery back, but it doesn’t sound like the team is prepared to get in a bidding war to retain the receiver’s services.
“Well, I’d say he knows us better than anybody else he could potentially go to,” Fox said. “I think it’s a positive feeling. With typically these things, it comes down to the market value. It’s like walking into a store right now at this time of year and there’s no price tags.”
The Bears hold the No. 3 pick in the draft.