NFC North links: Reworking Stafford's deal

Chicago Bears

If Marc Trestman's Montreal Alouettes teams are any indication, quarterback Jay Cutler should receive much better pass protection next season.

Aaron Kromer is on board as offensive coordinator and Joe DeCamillis will handle special teams, but who will run the defense? Sources say Trestman is open to retaining defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, but no decision has been made, according to the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs.

Detroit Lions

General manager Martin Mayhew said he hopes to work out a new deal with quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has a $20.3 million cap figure for next season, to free up cap space.

Pride of Detroit looks back at how the team's cornerbacks performed in 2012.

Green Bay Packers

Packers president Mark Murphy expressed disappointment in the team’s early exit from the playoffs at the 48th annual Red Smith Sports Award Banquet on Tuesday night, but he struck an optimistic tone about the future, saying "We all feel confident we have a chance to really compete for a Super Bowl championship for a number of years to come.” Dan Kohn of Gannett Wisconsin Media has the story.

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said 33-year-old defensive tackle Ryan Pickett remained productive throughout the year -- and he expects more of the same next season, reports Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press Gazette. “I think Ryan has some more football left in him. I really do,” said Trgovac.

Aaron Rodgers thinks read-option offense -- which the 49ers used to great effect in knocking the Packers out of the playoffs -- will eventually die out, writes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob Wolfley. "I think the league is cyclical. Things have come back around that have been used 20, 30 years ago. But this, too, I think, will pass" Rodgers said on his radio show.

Minnesota Vikings

Dan Wiederer of The Star-Tribune takes a "big picture look at the direction of the franchise" heading into the 2013 season.

Electronic pulltab sales were supposed to help fund the Vikings' new stadium, but those sales are nowhere near their projected target, reports The Star-Tribune's Jean Hopfensperger. Gross sales through December were $4.2 million -- far behind the $17.2 million projected to be raised by the end of July.