We're Black and Blue All Over:
This is it. Tuesday is the day we find out who among our pending free agents will test the free-agent market, and who will sign last-minute deals to remain in the NFC North.
We have a good idea on most of them, and among those who appear set to hit the open market are Detroit Lions left tackle Jeff Backus, Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, Lions cornerback Eric Wright, Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant and Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson.
Packers center Scott Wells is one of the few players whose next step won't be clear until 4 p.m. ET, when the new league year begins. It's also not clear if the Packers will keep veteran receiver Donald Driver and left tackle Chad Clifton under their current contracts, whether they will restructure them or if they both will be released.
I'll station myself in front of the computer for as long as my eyes can stay open, and as always, we'll call 'em the way we see 'em. Hop aboard. The ride is about to begin.
Dashing through the division:
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune looks at the top free agents available on the market.
David Haugh of the Tribune doesn't think the Chicago Bears have the luxury of pursuing defensive end Mario Williams. Haugh: "Sturdy offensive line and big-play wide receiver aren't terms I recall using in relation to the Bears offense since the [Jay] Cutler trade three years ago."
Go here to vote in ESPNChicago.com's Hot Button debate on which receiver -- Vincent Jackson or Mario Manningham -- makes better sense for the Bears.
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at how the Bears could afford Williams.
The Packers will start free agency with at least $7 million in cap space after the NFL gave most teams an additional $1.6 million, notes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Grant on reports of the New Orleans Saints' bounty program, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "Not everybody is coaching from the right place, not everybody is playing from the right place. And that’s just the reality."
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the state of the Wells negotiations: "The Packers and Wells have done such a good job of keeping negotiations secret that it's hard to know whether they have bridged at all a huge gap they faced as late as the middle of February. Typically, the Packers get deals done with their free-agents-to-be right under the gun, so it may take until Tuesday afternoon for Wells' fate to be known."
If the Vikings seek big-name cornerbacks on the free-agent market, it could be a sign they are planning a schematic change, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings cornerback Chris Cook could take the stand in his own defense as early as Tuesday in his ongoing trial for felony strangulation of his girlfriend, notes Abby Simons of the Star Tribune.
The Vikings appear set to let a number of their veteran free agents depart, including tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, according to Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
It's not clear if the Vikings' stadium bill will clear its first committee this week, according to Doug Belden of the Pioneer Press.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News wonders if the Lions have enough salary-cap room to re-sign Tulloch.
The Lions want backup quarterback Shaun Hill back in 2012, but it doesn't appear he'll be signed before Tuesday's deadline, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.