Sorry for the late posting. Technical issues knocked us off line for a bit.
Having traded away their picks in the first and second rounds of the 2010 draft, Chicago is obligated to approach the free-agent market with extra aggressiveness. If that means making a major run at free-agent defensive end Julius Peppers, as the NFL Network's Jason La Canfora suggests, then so be it.
As we discussed earlier this week, the Bears are likely to have an opening at left end and have limited internal possibilities to fill it. Peppers would slide into that position, or possibly swap sides with right end Alex Brown, provided the Bears meet his asking price.
A year ago, I would have said there was no way the Bears would shell out the money necessary to lure Peppers. But after watching them acquire quarterback Jay Cutler last year, you have to acknowledge the possibility. Free agency begins a week from Friday.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Bears will announce their impending hire of front office executive Tim Ruskell sometime this week, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette can understand why the Packers would consider using the franchise tag on nose tackle Ryan Pickett.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports it is a "definite possibility."
John Niyo of the Detroit News considers it a "long shot" for the Lions to trade out of their No. 2 overall pick.
Minnesota officials will meet with the agent for running back Chester Taylor this week at the scouting combine, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. Taylor is a pending unrestricted free agent.