NFC North moves shrinking the markets for Bears' needs

NFC North moves shrinking the markets for Bears' needs
March 9, 2014, 1:45 pm
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The key moves through the early hours of pre-free agency were not the phone calls made by the Bears — they have had exploratory contacts with myriad players ranging from Seattle’s Michael Bennett to Cincinnati’s Michael Johnson and beyond — but moves made by teams to re-sign their own players, thereby shrinking the market and pool of talent worth free-agent investments in multi-year contracts.

[RELATED: Second phase of pre-free agency opens for Bears, NFL]

And some of the most significant actions are happening right in the NFC North, with obvious implications for the Bears.

The Green Bay Packers brought back cornerback Sam Shields with a four-year deal worth potentially $39 million, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Cornerback is near the top of the Bears’ need list, although with Tim Jennings re-signed, one expectation is that the second starter will come from a deep draft in which projections are that starter-grade corners will be there in the second round.

The Minnesota Vikings took defensive end Everson Griffen off the market with a five-year deal worth $42.5 million, according to different reports. The clear statement is that the Vikings are not bringing back Jared Allen at anything close to his previous contract level.