As my area continues to dig out from under a massive pile of snow without freezing to death (12-15 inches in a 24-hour span this weekend!) I’m warmed by the return of one of my favorite television shows, FX’s Justified. I was able to catch the season premiere late last night (after finishing most of my work for this here site) and it didn’t disappoint. Between this and the upcoming return of Sherlock to American television, I might even be able to survive another blizzard. Unless, of course, it knocks out the satellite signal. If that happened, I don’t know how I’d stay busy; beyond, you know, working two jobs and planning a wedding.
- Brandon Marshall is also keeping busy; he was on ESPN this past Sunday as a guest analyst, and he’s started the week off by appearing on both NFL Network and Fox Football Daily. You can find a nice summary of his media exploits in this Chicago Tribune article from Dan Wiederer; it includes a video of his FOX appearance, which came alongside Brian Urlacher. (And it plays automatically, just to warn you.) He sounds genuinely upbeat about his offseason plan, as well as the direction in which the team is heading.
- After the salary cap post yesterday, a few readers noted that this Tribune article from Brad Biggs reports that all of the recently signed Bears have clauses in their new deals that allow for an “automatic conversion” in which the base salary can be re-designated as a signing bonus to be prorated over the course of the deal. Yet another example of how fluid the cap situation can be. I actually don’t think the Bears want to do this if they can avoid it; to me, it seemed like front-loading the contracts to minimize dead money later in the deals was the goal. But I’m sure if it comes down to it, it’s a nice tool to have in order to sign useful free agents.
- ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert weighed in on the Cutler deal, and thinks it’s as good as either side could have hoped for.
- The Lions are still searching for a coach, and according to ESPN’s Ed Werder, they’ll interview recently fired Titans coach Mike Munchak. That same report notes that Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt remains the frontrunner, while the team also interviewed recently fired Texans coach Gary Kubiak. All three of those men have NFL coaching experience, which makes sense; the Lions are, in theory, ready to win right away.
- That has possibly attracted the attention of another former coach, with plenty of experience as well as a Super Bowl ring; Tony Dungy appeared on the Dan Patrick Show last Friday and said that if he were to return to coaching, the Lions job is the one he’d want. Of course, he also said the he had no plans to coach, so take that with the appropriate amount of salt. My guess is they like Whisenhunt for his potential to work with Matt Stafford; it’s very possible that the Lions looked at the Bears situation and saw what an offensive-minded coach can do for a quarterback.
- The Vikings are also still looking for a coach, and according to this Pro Football Talk report, they’ll be taking a similar approach to the Bears, interviewing a wide array of candidates with varying backgrounds and levels of experience.
- Bears legend and NFL Hall of Famer Gale Sayers joined a new lawsuit seeking compensation for brain-related injuries suffered due to negligence by the NFL. That’s different from the original lawsuit that the NFL settled in August for $765 million; that deal is slowly winding it’s way toward completion, although according to this ESPN.com story from Lester Munson, it could still fall apart.
- Finally, if you want a nice Bears-related long read, CBS Chicago’s Adam Hoge has his first offseason notebook, in which he grades the performance of every outgoing free agent, attempts to predict whether they’ll be back next year, looks at a draft prospect who might fit Chicago’s needs, and more.
Later this morning I’ll be announcing a new feature for the offseason, so be sure to stay tuned.