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Saturday, March 7, 2009
Weekend mailbag

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

After a two-week hiatus, the weekend mailbag returneth. Let's get to it.

Anton of Fayetteville, Ark., writes: Kevin, What's your good advice for Bears fans now? Should we just give up and stop watching the news of free agency? Is there any chance we will sign or even talk to a player of value soon?

Kevin Seifert: As I'm sure you know by now, the Bears did re-sign running back Kevin Jones on Friday afternoon. Of course, I have no idea why. Jones was inactive for five of the last seven games in 2008, and the Bears have been talking about using Garrett Wolfe as Matt Forte's backup. But I digress. As for your question, I would assume the Bears will get John St. Clair locked up in the next week or so, allowing him to slide over to right tackle in time for their mandatory minicamp next weekend.


Kurt of Chicago writes: Comparing ESPN's plausible destinations for Terrell Owens, and the teams that have come forward and said NO. We have Oakland, KC, TB, Bears, and Seattle. How likely do you think the Bears are to entertain adding TO?

Kevin Seifert: I would be absolutely, positively stunned if the Bears sign Owens. It just wouldn't fit the approach they've taken this offseason. They balked at approaching T.J. Houshmandzadeh once they found out what his financial demands were. Owens won't get Houshmandzadeh money, but I don't see the Bears wanting to make any kind of short-term investment in the position.


JZ of Bloomington, Ind., writes: I understand that T.O. and the Bears getting brought up is inevitable. But everyone is talking about the wrong former Dallas player going to Chicago. Is it just me, or should the Bears be jumping on Roy Williams to fill the hole that Mike Brown's departure leaves. At 28, Roy gives us an experienced guy that will more than likely play for quite a few more years at a high caliber. Why is no one talking about this?

Kevin Seifert: It's an interesting question. One semi-educated theorist suggests that the Bears are looking for a safety with strong coverage skills to replace Brown. The theory goes that Kevin Payne can be the physical, line-of-scrimmage type of safety -- as can Danieal Manning -- but neither of them is great in coverage. Unfortunately, Williams is the same kind of safety. This might be a position the Bears need to address in the draft. But I wouldn't rule out Williams at some point.


Joseph of Toledo writes: I know the Lions can't get any worse, but my question is during the offseason are they finally filling the voids the need most for some positive results? I'm not saying playoffs but a step in the right direction for once.

Kevin Seifert: I think the Lions have done what they needed to do: Spread out their salary-cap money over multiple positions. The way I put it earlier this week is that they are trying to improve their roster from depleted to functional. None of the players they signed are likely to make the Pro Bowl, but they should give the Lions at least some short-term improvement while they take on the task of re-stocking through the draft. Given the way things were last year, this is the only approach the Lions could have taken.


Scott of Burlington, Vermont, writes: Do you think the Vikings should get either or both Roy Williams and Terrell Owens? I really think they could use both, but TO scares me. For one season, however, it could be worth a shot. Now, can you please get the Broncos to trade Cutler to us?

Kevin Seifert: No way on Owens. Let's just say neither he nor Brad Childress are fans of one another. As for Williams, I think the Vikings want to give Tyrell Johnson a chance at the safety position opposite of Madieu Williams. They moved up in the draft last year to get Johnson for that role. As for Cutler, it's not up to me. I have no idea if the Broncos will make him available. But the Vikings should make every effort to find out.


Regan of Milwaukee writes: Almost every story I have read about the Packers in free agency says they are not being anywhere near aggressive in actually signing anyone. Why is it that the Packers act like a little kid dipping his foot into the water too afraid to jump into the pool when it comes to this years free agency and almost every other year?

Kevin Seifert: The Packers did sign safety Anthony Smith on Friday, but in general I understand what you're saying. I think it's fair to say at this point that Ted Thompson just isn't a big fan of competing on the free-agency market. He's had enough opportunities over the years to make us believe otherwise, and he hasn't. He prefers to build through the draft, plain and simple.


Mike of Robbinsdale, Minn., writes: From your vantage point, what exactly are the Vikings trying to do this offseason? To me, there are several positions that they need to address, the first and most obvious being QB (and no, Sage Rosenfels doesn't count). However, the Vikes also need a C, RT, and, in my opinion, they should also heavily invest in a CB and more depth at DT. Given all of those needs, how do you see the Vikings trying to fill them? Will they try to go mainly through the draft or are there any FA still on the market they might be interested in?

Kevin Seifert: At this point, anyone they sign on the free-agent market would be a secondary-type player with limited impact. Barring Jay Cutler or Donovan McNabb being made available, I don't see the Vikings making any more additions at quarterback. They're going to go with Tarvaris Jackson and Rosenfels. Right tackle will probably be a focus in the draft, and at center I believe they'll ultimately plug in John Sullivan -- a sixth-round pick last year -- to replace Matt Birk.


Jason of Lincoln, Neb., writes: Kevin, let's move past T.O. and consider a wideout that the Black and Blue might look at: Torry Holt, who just asked for his release. I would think that, given their pursuit
of Houshmandzadeh, the Vikings would have to kick the tires on Holt, right? He'd be cheaper, coming off a down year, but he's the same age as Houshmandzadeh and probably still has some gas left in the tank.

Kevin Seifert: I wouldn't rule it out, but it's hard to know for sure if they would be interested until Holt is in fact available. He's a great receiver but different from Houshmandzadeh, who is a classic complementary No. 2 receiver. Holt's style is more similar to Bernard Berrian's. I'm not ruling it out, but I think Houshmandzadeh might have fit a very specific profile as the type of receiver the Vikings were looking for.


Nick of Sydney writes: Hi Kevin, hope you're well Any chance that now Kurt Warner is locked in at the Cards for two more years, that the Lions or Bears (or anyone else) thinking QB in the first round call Arizona and trade their pick for a Heisman winning, National Championship winner with 3 years of training in an NFL scheme and 15 odd starts? I know he hasn't lit the place up yet but he hasn't stunk it out either and he must be a safer bet than the college juniors who would all have been ranked way behind him had they come out in the same year? Am I missing something? The guy is behind a Hall of Famer and was line ball to start over him this year. Surely that's worth more than what Stafford and Sanchez have shown.

Kevin Seifert: Interesting question, Nick. I've wondered if Matt Leinart was going to sit patiently through the Warner years or if he'll try to find another home. I think it's worth a call, especially for the Lions. As a rookie, Leinart played well in an offense that is similar to what the Lions are expected to run under offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.


Glenn of Bellingham, Wash., writes: Is there any evidence that the Vikes are trying to trade for Jay Cutler ... or are you just trying to spur them on?!?!
realistic odds at this point that we will land Cutler and at what price?

Kevin Seifert: I think the Vikings talked about it internally. What we don't know is if the Broncos ever considered trading Cutler after the Matt Cassel discussions fell through.