NFC North Notes: H. Smith, Lions, Packers

It looks like a matter of when, not if, standout safety Harrison Smith will sign an extension with the Vikings, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Wolfson hears that talks between the two sides are expected to pick up before the end of the month.

Smith, 27, is entering the final year of his contract and is coming off his first Pro Bowl season. So far this offseason, most of the new deals signed by noteworthy safeties – including Malcolm Jenkins, Tashaun Gipson, Rodney McLeod, and George Iloka – have ranged from $6-9MM per year, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Smith exceed all of those when he eventually re-ups with the Vikings.

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • Free agent wide receiver and return man Jordan Norwood is paying a visit to the Lions today, per Mike Klis of 9NEWS (Twitter link). Norwood, who visited the Jets earlier this week, appeared in 11 regular-season games for the Broncos last season, amassing 22 receptions and 11 returns — he also set a new record for the longest punt return in a┬áSuper Bowl (61 yards).
  • With Russell Okung headed to Denver, the Lions may have to address the left tackle position via trade or in the draft, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Riley Reiff is currently penciled in as the starter, but some in the organization feel he’s better suited to play right tackle, and he’s only under contract for one more season anyway.
  • Rob Demovsky of offers one reason why Packers GM Ted Thompson may be mostly avoiding free agency in 2016, suggesting that Green Bay will need plenty of cap space a year from now for potential free agents like David Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton, and others.
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