BBAO: Will Bears give Lovie Smith a raise?

We're Black and Blue All Over:

If Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy's new contract is worth $5 million annually when it is finalized, as reported by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, then Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith can't expect much of a raise in his impending extension.

That's the conclusion drawn by Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times, who notes Smith is already earning about that total in his current deal, which expires next year. Hayes: "How can Smith claim he is worth more than the coach of the defending Super Bowl champions?"

Coaching salaries are a pretty well-kept secret around the NFL. But according to a recent Forbes.com report, the NFL's highest-paid coaches are Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins, both of whom are at about $7 million annually. Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks is third, at a little over $6 million per year, and Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles is fourth at $5.5 million per year.

It's been more than three weeks since the Bears' season ended with general manager Jerry Angelo confirming he planned to offer Smith an extension. There is no rush on those negotiations, but if Smith is looking for a significant raise, the discussions could take some time.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Bears tight end Brandon Manumaleuna is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his right knee soon, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

  • Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette wonders if the Packers will assign the franchise tag to any of their impending free agents. Place-kicker Mason Crosby is one possibility.

  • Packers running back James Starks was back in his home state Wednesday and discussed his climb up the depth chart and winning the Super Bowl.

  • Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, via Frank Tadych of NFL.com: "I feel like the window is still open. It's definitely getting smaller to me, before the rebuilding process [starts]. We have so many veterans and elite players right now on our team. A roster full of great players. ... Offensively, we have all the skill positions [filled]. It's an offensive coordinator's dream. Those are weapons that are definite mismatches if put in the right position."

  • Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune suggests the Vikings will use their franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway.

  • Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reviews the Vikings' 2010 draft.

  • Elliot Harrison of NFL.com offers five questions about the Detroit Lions' future.