North Notes: Packers, Lions, Ansah, Steelers

Now that the Packers seemingly have their backfield set for the foreseeable future, they could consider moving Ty Montgomery back to wide receiver, opines Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Montgomery moved to running back late in the 2016 campaign, and entered last season as Green Bay’s starter. However, as some had predicted, Montgomery wasn’t able to hold up as a full-time runner, and managed only 71 carries on the season. The Packers drafted three running backs in 2017, and two of them — Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones — gave early indications that they can become the foundation of a solid rushing attack. Green Bay’s wide receiving corps is less stable, however, as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb could conceivably be asked to accept a pay cut or be released. Montgomery, then, would give the club another option at wideout as he enters his contract season. A third-round selection in the 2015 draft, Montgomery is now eligible for an extension and is projected to hit the open market in 2018.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Lions should use the franchise tag on pending free agent defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, argues Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Although the franchise tender for defensive ends is extremely expensive (at a projected $17.5MM cost, the DE tag is second only to the quarterback tender), it would give Detroit several options regarding Ansah’s long-term future. Not only would the tag allow the Lions to see if Ansah can double-down on his 12-sack 2017 campaign, but the club would get an additional season to gauge the production of fellow defensive ends Kerry Hyder and Anthony Zettel. Additionally, a franchise tag doesn’t mean Detroit can’t reach an extension with Ansah — if he’s tagged, Ansah will have until July to hammer out a long-term deal with the Lions. NFL teams can begin deploying the franchise tender on February 20, and have until March 6 to formally utilize the tag.
  • Though he had been scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason, Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix inked a four-year extension last week, the details of which salary cap guru Ian Whetstone has now provided (via Twitter). All told, Nix’s new deal is worth $6.975MM and contains $1.5MM guaranteed (all in the form of a signing bonus). His 2018 cap charge will be $1.437MM, which is roughly $500K cheaper than the lowest RFA tender. So while Nix will receive a slightly reduced base salary next season, he’s picking up guarantees that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.
  • In case you missed it, the Bengals are expected to prioritize extensions for defensive tackle Geno Atkins and defensive end Carlos Dunlap this offseason. Both defenders are entering the final year of their respective contracts.
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3 comments on “North Notes: Packers, Lions, Ansah, Steelers

  1. sidewinder11

    Green Bay needs to get creative with how to use Montgomery. He’s an average RB and an average WR but his skill set overall is definitely as asset if they use him correctly. He allows you to have a lot of unique plays and formations because of his versatility

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  2. JT19

    I think the Packers will end up cutting Cobb and asking Nelson to take a pay cut (maybe with the lost money being replaced by reachable incentives). Nelson might be on his last legs, but the chemistry between him and Rodgers probably buys him another season or two in Green Bay.

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  3. PLAYTOWIN

    Atkins and Dunlap should try free agency. Both a good players and would help a competitive team. Atkins is a bit younger. Signing with the Bengals would only assure 3 to 5 more years of misery.

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