Contract Points: NFC North

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Contract Points: NFC North

As we go inside more contracts of the NFC teams, the NFC North presents some interesting situations.

Over the next two to three years, the quarterback position may undergo some changes as well as the wide receiver position for this division.

With that in mind, let’s take an inside look at what’s on the horizon.

Chicago Bears

From talking to the Bears, it’s very clear to me that this is truly a wide-open QB competition.

Mitchell Trubisky’s fifth-year option for 2021 was not picked up, so the team can walk away without owing him a thing since his contract will now expire after this season concludes.

As for Nick Foles, his contract was restructured at the time that the Bears acquired him from the Jaguars. And while he’s signed through 2022, the team can get out of his deal without much of an issue as long as they cut or trade him before his $4 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of free agency.

With this information in mind, it’s very possible that the team’s starting quarterback for 2021 is not on the roster.

At wide receiver, standout veteran Allen Robinson’s contract is scheduled to expire after the 2020 season, so look for the team to try to extend it before free agency starts in March. And fellow veteran Ted Ginn is on a one-year deal.

At tight end, veteran Jimmy Graham signed a two-year deal, but the team can easily get out of it after just one season. However, they’ll have paid him at least $9 million this season if they wind up cutting him.

Detroit Lions

At running back, third-year pro Kerryon Johnson’s contract will expire after the 2021 season. It’s pretty apparent that if he doesn’t bounce back this season, he won’t be with the team after next season and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them trade him before then, especially if rookie RB D’Andre Swift plays well.

At wide receiver, the team’s top three players — Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola — are not signed past this season.

However, the team has expressed interest in signing Golladay to an extension. But even so, this team really lacks depth at the position, which has been an ongoing issue for at least a few seasons. They have no one currently who is capable of filling in for Jones.

At tight end, while veteran Jesse James is on a four-year deal, the team can easily get out his deal and owe him nothing next season as there is no more guaranteed money left in his contract past this season.

Green Bay Packers

It was certainly shocking to see the Packers select a quarterback in the first round, but Aaron Rodgers, based on his contract, might be their starter through 2021 due to the amount of “dead money” that the team would incur if they cut him.

The team does have to make a decision on his $6.8 million roster bonus by the third day of free agency. If they decide not to pay it, his contract would terminate. It’s pretty much a lock that he’ll be their quarterback in 2021, but that’s probably going to be Rodgers’ last season with the team.

With the surprising selection of RB AJ Dillon in the second round of this year’s draft, that’s a clear sign that the team won’t be re-signing at least one of Aaron Jones and Jamaal WIlliams. Both players are only signed through this season, but the Packers have expressed an interest in re-signing the very talented Jones.

The great Davante Adams is signed through 2021, but there is no guaranteed money left in his deal. While it’s highly unlikely the team would move on from its #1 WR after this season ends, it’s a situation that is worth noting, as he does turn 29 in December.

Minnesota Vikings

Starting QB Kirk Cousins had his contract extended for two seasons in March, but the team can get out of his deal after just one season. However, because of the structure of it, it’s highly unlikely they’ll wind up cutting him before the contract expires after the 2022 season.

Cousins will earn $40 million this season (yes, you read that correctly). If the Vikings decided to cut him after this season, they’ll still be on the hook for $21 million, which is his fully guaranteed base salary for 2021.

And his 2022 base salary of $35 million becomes fully guaranteed a year in advance (third day of free agency in 2021). So, as you can see, the structure highly favors the player, so it’s a near certainty that Cousins will wind up playing those two extra seasons for the Vikings.

Starting RB Dalvin Cook is on the final year of his rookie deal, but both sides have exchanged proposals and it’s highly likely he’ll be with the team for years to come. They can use their franchise tag for the next two seasons if they can’t get a deal done this season.

And it’s also worth noting that while veteran TE {[Kyle Rudolph|TE|MIN}} is signed through 2023, the guaranteed money in his contract expires after this season ends.

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