We're Black and Blue All Over:
For those who are interested in NFL contract minutia, it's worth reiterating Ed Werder's point about the relatively rare twist of two major contract extensions signed this offseason in the NFC North.
The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions both parted from convention by extending their quarterbacks' contracts two years away from expiration. Typically, NFL teams prefer to wait until one year prior to expiration before re-negotiating. The idea is to get maximum value from the presumed economy of the current contracts, while also avoiding a precedent that would lead other players to see early extensions.
The Packers made an exception for Aaron Rodgers because of the level to which he had outperformed his contract, signed midway through his first year as a starter in 2008. And the Lions agreed to terms with Matthew Stafford this week in part to lower his salary-cap numbers in 2013 and 2014.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Stafford was smart to sign a short-term deal, writes Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press.
Adding $53 million to Stafford's contract is "simply the price of doing business in today's NFL," writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
Justin Rogers of Mlive.com: "Given what we know about Stafford's accomplishments, his shortcomings and his potential, the deal makes sense on every level."
The figures of Rodgers' extension provided a guideline for Stafford's, writes Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones are tied for 17th-most important players on the Packers' roster, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
A key committee of the Minneapolis City Council approved plans for development around the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium, writes Janet Moore of the Star Tribune.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune: "The deadline for the Bears to sign Henry Melton to a multiyear deal is Monday afternoon and unless there is late activity like there was for Matt Forte when he was in the same situation last summer, the defensive tackle once again will be in a contract year."