We're Black and Blue All Over:
Good morning and Happy Free Agency! The market officially opens at 4 p.m. ET, and while we spent most of Monday breaking down the Percy Harvin trade, I started working back toward the rest of the division late in the evening with a look at the relatively big names being connected with the presumably cap-strapped Detroit Lions.
One other noteworthy bit of news arose Monday night: The Green Bay Packers' decision to offer a low contract tender to center Evan Dietrich-Smith, a restricted free agent and their presumed starter in 2013. As Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes, the offer -- worth $1.323 million -- could entice a team to sign Dietrich-Smith to an offer sheet. That team would not have to provide the Packers any draft-pick compensation.
(On the other hand, as ESPN's Adam Schefter reports, the Packers gave cornerback Sam Shields a second-round tender worth $2.02 million. That means any team that might sign Shields would have to give the Packers a second-round pick in order to get him.)
The Packers would still have the right to match an offer to Dietrich-Smith, which they assuredly would. But they would have in essence allowed another team to negotiate a deal for one of their starters. Overall, though, the risk is minimal. How likely is it that another team would make a significant financial play for a player with two career starts at the position, especially given the recent history of inactivity for restricted free agents?
We'll find out soon enough. For now, a quick morning spin around the division:
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "So general manager Ted Thompson in effect is betting that no team will offer Dietrich-Smith a contract he’d be unwilling to match."
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the Harvin trade: "It's just too bad that the most talented player at the Vikings' weakest position had to be such a screwball. But it's still going to hurt. Even if the Vikings now sign or draft a star playmaker, they merely will break even -- with luck. Harvin does so many things well that he is close to being irreplaceable."
It was always something with Harvin, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
Harvin's departure is a failure of the Vikings' organization, writes Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: Harvin "was, and is, one of the NFL's most dynamic players for 3 hours after Sunday. It's the other 165 hours a week the Vikings had begun to fear having a basket case on their hands."
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press on the Lions' possible pursuit of running back Reggie Bush: "There are many reasons the Lions should do whatever necessary to acquire Bush once the formal free-agent season begins at 4 p.m. today. But there's also one overriding reason they should run -- not walk -- away from him. They're ... the Lions. These high-profile splurges don't work for them. And anytime anyone tells you that the Lions 'can't miss' with a prescribed remedy, they usually whiff badly. This remains an organization that if awarded with a fail-proof path toward gold would mine only clay."
Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com explores the Lions' interest in safety Glover Quin.
Patience will be key for the Lions, notes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
The Chicago Bears have $7.01 million in cap space, according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Chances of the Bears' own free agents leaving are increasing, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Brian Urlacher's situation merits creativity from the Bears, according to ESPNChicago.com.