North Notes: Bakhtiari, Browns, Lions

It’s not too early for Ted Thompson and the Packers to start thinking about extending David Bakhtiari‘s contract, according to Ryan Wood of USA Today-Wisconsin. Green Bay’s starting left tackle is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and is interested in remaining with the team beyond 2016, as he tells Wood.

“I think it’s mutual,” Bakhtiari said of his interest in sticking with the Packers. “I like it here, and they like me. I have another year. So I think if they want to do it early, awesome. If not, then we have one more year to work together. So we can talk about it then. I do think it’s too early though.”

The Packers don’t foray into free agency much, but do typically lock up their own players, so it could be a matter of when, not if, the team gets something done with Bakhtiari. We saw Green Bay lock up Mike Daniels months before he was eligible for free agency, but the club sometimes lets talks go down to the wire — Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga signed extensions a year ago just before hitting the open market.

As we wait to see if Bakhtiari and the Packers can get anything done this offseason, let’s round up some more items from out of the NFL’s North divisions….

  • Browns executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown would be shocked if the team traded up to No. 1 in the draft, telling Mary Kay Cabot of that the club is more likely to trade down, if it moves off the No. 2 pick. The Titans have the first overall pick, so if the Browns intend to select a quarterback second overall, the only way they won’t get their man is if another team trades for Tennessee’s pick.
  • New Lions general manager Bob Quinn said today that he hasn’t talked to Calvin Johnson yet about whether or not the wide receiver wants to continue playing, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Although Quinn doesn’t want to rush Johnson into a decision, the GM admits he “absolutely” hopes to have resolution on the issue before free agency begins in March.
  • Although there’s no question that Lions players wanted Jim Caldwell back as the team’s head coach, Quinn didn’t consult with any players before making a decision on Caldwell, as Tim Twentyman of details.
  • Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle passes (Twitter links) along a couple workout updates, reporting that the Browns recently tried out kicker Kyle Brindza, while the Vikings auditioned running back Isaiah Pead.
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