NFC North Notes: Vikings, Lions, Savage

The Vikings have multiple departure candidates still on their roster. The Dalvin CookZa’Darius Smith holding patterns may persist, with’s Albert Breer noting the Vikes have informed other teams they are in good enough shape cap-wise to hold onto both veterans. This will be contingent on a bit more work being done, as OverTheCap credits the Vikings as holding $1.2MM in cap space. Cook is due $10.4MM in salary, and the Dolphins’ Devon Achane third-round pick complicates a previously discussed trade. The Vikings could take a Bengals path and prepare for a pay-cut ask, but we have not heard that is in the works yet. Smith, who asked to be cut earlier this year, is tied to a $9.45MM base. The Vikes have he, Danielle Hunter and UFA addition Marcus Davenport in the fold. The Vikings remain open to moving either player, though Breer adds they might need to pick up part of each’s salary — similar to how the Bears proceeded with their Robert Quinn trade last year — to make such a move worthwhile in terms of compensation.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • Between free agency and the draft, the Lions have revamped their secondary. Detroit signed Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson before drafting versatile DB Brian Branch in Round 2. The Eagles had moved Gardner-Johnson to safety last season, but he primarily played slot corner under Aaron Glenn in New Orleans. The Lions DC is planning to use CJGJ frequently in the slot this season, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News notes. It will be interesting to see how the Lions manage the workloads for Gardner-Johnson and Branch, considering both have experience — albeit one of them at the college level only — of working in the slot and as a safety.
  • In the wake of the NFL’s gambling investigation producing four Lions suspensions, the team released recently re-signed special-teamer C.J. Moore and wideout Quintez Cephus. Those two were not the only Lions employees dismissed as part of their involvement in this scandal. The team also fired staffers, and Breer adds a strength and conditioning coach and two equipment managers were let go. Receivers Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill were also suspended, but they are still with the team.
  • The Packers moved some money around in Darnell Savage‘s contract recently, and Field Yates of indicates the restructure created $5.5MM in cap space (Twitter link). Savage is attached to a fifth-year option salary in 2023. The Packers converted $4MM of Savage’s option salary into a signing bonus and tacked on four void years to the former first-round safety’s deal, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweets. If the Packers do not re-sign Savage before the 2024 league year begins, they will be hit with $5.5MM in dead money due to the void years now on this contract. The Packers, who absorbed a record-tying $40MM in dead money by trading Aaron Rodgers last week, are still near the top of the league in cap space. They hold just more than $17MM in room as May begins.
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