It should come as no surprise that no one remains perfectly the same year to year in the modern NFL. The vast machinery of football ensures that someone's getting cut, someone's moving on, someone's getting paid and someone's trying to get into "the best shape of his life." Free agency can be one hell of a drag and one hell of a drug.
Certainly there's been a few Lions' opponents that have gotten better. The New York Giants (the Lions play them in the Meadowlands next season) made possibly the biggest move on Wednesday when they signed defensive end Olivier Vernon for an eye-gouging $52.5 million in guaranteed money. Reprinting the fact that the whole contract is worth $85 million is useless because there's no universe where the Giants can expect to get through that mortgage unscathed.
Elsewhere the Jaguars (who didn't get Vernon) picked up defensive tackle Malik Jackson for similar, but slightly less crazy, amounts of money, while the Tennessee Titans added DeMarco Murray through an earlier trade with the Eagles and then signed wide receiver Rishard Matthews to a three-year deal. Of course, these are only the headlines of Wednesday; the sausage is made with much less savory parts and more grittier components.
Speaking of processed meat made with questionable fillers, let's take a look at the Lions' NFC North brethren and see how they fared after the first day and night of the free agent period. Of course, these teams are nowhere near done tinkering with their roster or seeing pieces leave; in the case of the Packers they often do nothing at all on the first day out of some misguided notion of That Was The Way Things Were or whatever they sell to Wisconsin simpletons these days.
The Vikings made perhaps the most moves, signing four new free agents -- including former Lions linebacker Travis Lewis -- and re-signing six of their own, while the Chicago Bears lost Matt Forte to the open market. Let's take a look at all the news.
RB Matt Forte - Signed with the New York Jets.
WR Alshon Jeffery - The Bears slapped the franchise tag on Jeffery.
CB Tracy Porter - Signed to a three-year contract for $16.5 million.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers - Re-signed to a one-year deal.
OL Nick Becton - Re-signed to a one-year deal.
Green Bay Packers
TE Justin Perillo - Tendered a minimum wage one-year contract as an exclusive rights free agent.
WR Mike Wallace - the Vikings released Mike Wallace on Tuesday.
G Alex Boone - Signed to a contract for four years for $26.8 million.
LB Travis Lewis - No details have been released on Lewis' new contract yet.
LB Emmanuel Lamur - Signed for two years for $6 million.
S Michael Griffin - Signed for one year for $2.5 million.
OT Carter Bykowski - Signed to a contract for one year for $525,000.
LB Audie Cole - Signed a one-year contract.
DT Kenrick Ellis - Signed a one-year contract.
G Mike Harris - Signed for one year for $1.75 million.
FB Zach Line - Minnesota tendered a contract to RFA Zach Line.
S Andrew Sendejo - Signed to a contract for four years for $16 million.
WR Adam Thielen - Signed to a contract for one year for $600,000.