NFC Notes: Packers, Hester, Mitchell, Smith

Nate Davis of USA Today ran down the Packers‘ offseason needs and rightfully noted that the D-Line will need to be addressed. Tyson Jackson, Arthur Jones, and Paul Soliai could be candidates for Green Bay, especially since B.J. Raji seems to have played his way off the roster. Here’s more out of the NFC..

  • In an interview with NFL Network. Bears return specialist Devin Hester indicated that he’ll likely be elsewhere in 2014, writes Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune. “From my knowledge, I know that Chicago wants to go a different route with me,” Hester said, pretty much confirming a similar report from earlier in the week. “All I can say is thanks to the fans (for) the support. Always been great to me, always been loyal. I couldn’t want to play for a better city than those guys.” Hester averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return and 14.2 yards per punt return last season, tying Sanders’ touchdown record with an 81-yard punt return against the Redskins in October.
  • Panthers safety Michael Mitchell is a shining example of how one-year deals can actually benefit veterans, writes USA Today’s Tom Pelissero. The 26-year-old didn’t get much opportunity in Oakland but after totaling four interceptions, two forced fumbles and 3.5 sacks in 15 games (14 starts) in 2013 with Carolina, he figures to see a bigger pay day this year.
  • Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer says Panthers GM Dave Gettleman holds the cards in his standoff with wide receiver Steve Smith. The inventive columnist even goes so far as to come up with dialogue for an imagined meeting between the two men.
  • The Vikings want to re-sign veteran wide receiver Jerome Simpson, writes Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. A source tells Tomasson that Minnesota is interested in a third year with Simpson even though he was arrested in November on suspicion of a DUI.
  • It’s no secret that the 49ers are trying to get deals done with Donte Whitner and Tarell Brown before they hit free agency, but it may be difficult to get both men to bypass the open market, writes Bill Williamson of (Twitter links).
  • Bears guard Kyle Long has already begun lobbying for the team to sign free agent defensive tackle Nate Collins, writes John Mullin of Earlier tonight, the Bears came to terms with fellow DT Jeremiah Ratliff.
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