GREEN BAY – Roughly a week into free agency, the Packers have experienced their share of change.
There’s been a swap of offensive tackles ( Rick Wagner for Bryan Bulaga) and inside linebackers ( Christian Kirksey for Blake Martinez), while some role players have been retained ( Marcedes Lewis, Will Redmond) and others have departed (Kyler Fackrell, B.J. Goodson, Danny Vitale).
But what about the rest of the NFC North?
An argument could be made that all three of the Packers’ division opponents, for better or worse, have undergone more change than Green Bay to this point.
Here’s a brief rundown of each team’s significant comings and goings in the offseason thus far.
Minnesota’s foundation has been on defense throughout head coach Mike Zimmer’s tenure, but that defense is going to look considerably different in 2020.
Three of the Vikings’ top cornerbacks have all departed, with Xavier Rhodes getting released and Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander both signing with Cincinnati. While starting safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris remain, their backups Andrew Sendejo (Cleveland) and Jayron Kearse (Detroit) also have left. It’ll be a very different-looking secondary in Minnesota.
The defensive line is changing, too, with three regulars – Everson Griffen, Stephen Weatherly (Carolina) and Linval Joseph (L.A. Chargers) gone. The Vikings did sign former Baltimore DT Michael Pierce to be Joseph’s replacement on the interior.
On offense, the biggest move was the trade of WR Stefon Diggs to Buffalo for several draft picks, including a first-rounder. The duo of Diggs and Adam Thielen has been split up, but if the Vikings are looking to pair a new top-flight receiving partner with Thielen, they now have two first-round picks to do so, Nos. 22 and 25, before the Packers select at No. 30.
The move getting the most attention in Chicago, understandably, is the acquisition of QB Nick Foles to compete with Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job. Whoever emerges as the No. 1 guy, he’ll have a new tight end in Jimmy Graham, acquired after the Packers released him, but he’ll be without slot receiver Taylor Gabriel, who was released.
On defense, the Bears have lost two starters in the secondary, CB Prince Amukamara (released) and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Dallas) while signing former Pittsburgh first-round pick Artie Burns at corner.
Up front, the Bears and Rams essentially swapped edge rushers, with former Chicago first-rounder Leonard Floyd going to L.A. and Robert Quinn signing with the Bears as the new bookend opposite Khalil Mack. At inside linebacker, Chicago kept Danny Trevathan while losing Nick Kwiatkowski in free agency (Las Vegas).
Looking for their own new pass-rushing bookend to pair with last year’s big free-agent signing, Trey Flowers, the Lions moved on from Devon Kennard (Arizona) and signed Cleveland’s Jamie Collins.
On the interior of the defensive front, the departures of Damon Harrison and A’Shawn Robinson (L.A. Rams) were countered with the signing of New England’s Danny Shelton, while at offensive tackle, Wagner’s release led to the acquisition of Philadelphia’s Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
Detroit’s biggest move, though, was trading three-time Pro Bowl CB Darius Slay to the Eagles for a couple of mid-round draft picks. The Lions have replaced him by signing Atlanta’s Desmond Trufant, but the change signifies that all three NFC North defensive backfields lost prominent starters from their 2019 starting lineups.