The NFC North is finally primed for the Detroit Lions to rise up and move ahead of their three rivals in the division.
Both the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears have fired their respective general managers and head coaches after disappointing 2021 seasons.
The class of the division for the past several years, the Green Bay Packers, will embark on one of their most challenging offseasons in recent memory.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers could decide to walk away from football all together, or he could force a trade out of the only organization he has played for during his illustrious 17-year NFL career.
Green Bay's front office has to get creative to be able to address the team's current salary-cap situation.
The team is currently projected to be more than $40 million over the cap heading into 2022.
With wideout Davante Adams and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell entering free agency, there is a strong possibility the Packers' roster will look different when the team takes the field for the first time in 2022.
Detroit has set itself up to make a run at one or two high-priced free agents to add depth to the defense or to add talent to an offense that played well after head coach Dan Campbell took over play-calling duties.
Recall, the Lions fielded one of the youngest teams in the entire National Football League.
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The team's salary-cap situation is far from perfect. But, with the potential of adding an additional $10 million for general manager Brad Holmes to play with after possibly releasing Trey Flowers, the team could retain a handful of its own free agents and still sign other talent to fill out the roster.
According to The Detroit News, "The team is starting with between $30-35 million in space, which will jump to $40-45 million with the likely release of Flowers. Of course, it will drop back down closer to $30 million once all those exclusive-rights free-agent tenders are added back into the equation."
After signing its draft class and keeping funds available for a rainy day, the team will have a spending cap of approximately $15 million.
Other players could be waived and members of the roster could restructure their deals to give the team additional funds to offer to an impactful free agent or two.
With a renewed culture, a favorable schedule and youthful talent being added to the roster via the draft, Detroit is poised to make noise in the division in the next couple of seasons.
Jim Caldwell update
Former Lions head man Jim Caldwell has reportedly emerged as a finalist in the Bears' head coaching search.
According to Sports Illustrated, "The Bears’ Bill Polian/Tony Dungy connected candidates -- Jim Caldwell, Leslie Frazier and Colts DC Matt Eberflus -- have emerged as top names in Chicago. Hiring Poles could mean changing course a bit. Poles is close with fellow former Boston College football letterman Brian Flores, and Flores has already interviewed with the Bears, and Poles has been in touch with a number of other candidates for the Vikings and Bears jobs (Caldwell is one, Quinn, Todd Bowles and Kevin O’Connell are others). So just like Quinn is the big domino on the coaching side, Poles could be the next domino on the general manager side."