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A busy Tuesday in the NFC North

A newsy day in the NFL has impacted the NFC North in a number of ways. Let's get right to them:

  • The Chicago Bears surprisingly released defensive end Mark Anderson and signed veteran Charles Grant, the former New Orleans Saint who had been playing with Omaha of the UFL. My first reaction: Can Grant play right tackle? Because nothing that ails the Bears right now can be fixed by a defensive end. I don't doubt that Anderson has underachieved and that Grant is an intriguing short-term replacement. But this move is more eye-opening than it is likely to be impactful on the field. If you subscribe to the theory that coach Lovie Smith has dropped all player loyalties in this win-or-else season, maybe the Anderson release shouldn't be that surprising. I wasn't sold on that idea last week, but Smith has now taken dramatic moves against two of the players he has most inexplicably supported in recent years: Anderson and defensive tackle Tommie Harris.

  • The Minnesota Vikings traded defensive end Jayme Mitchell to the Cleveland Browns for a late-round 2012 draft choice. Mitchell has been a decent situational pass rusher over the years, but he role would always be limited behind Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, Brian Robison and possibly rookie Everson Griffen.

  • The Carolina Panthers released receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who was arrested Tuesday morning for driving while impaired. Before anyone asks if Jarrett is a possibility to help fortify the Vikings' receiving corps, remember that the team passed on its opportunity to draft Jarrett in the second round of the 2007 draft. Instead, the Vikings drafted Sidney Rice. The Vikings had a much lower grade on Jarrett, and I don't think anything has happened since then to change their feelings.