Around the NFC West: Barron ready to go

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Alex Barron would welcome the pending trade that would send him to Dallas for Bobby Carpenter. Thomas: "One detail the Rams could be negotiating is a one-time playing incentive of $1.9 million that Carpenter could receive this year. It looks like he would be the Rams' starting weakside linebacker in a trade, in which case the incentive would activate easily if Carpenter stays healthy. Carpenter also is due to earn a base salary of $1.19 million this year, the last year of his original rookie contract. Drafted 18th overall in 2006 out of Ohio State, Carpenter has been a disappointment with the Cowboys."

Also from Thomas: where the Rams would be without Steven Jackson.

Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com outlines five ways he thinks the Rams need to improve by Week 1. Gordon: "The Rams could have drafted a game manager (Colt McCoy) later in the NFL Draft and addressed another need in the first round. But the team went for (Sam) Bradford and his higher upside -– so now it needs to tailor its passing game to his strengths. It’s time to get out of damage control mode and attack defenses. Wait a minute, you’re thinking. Don’t the Rams lack the receiving talent needed for a more aggressive scheme? (General manager Billy) Devaney dismisses this concern. The Rams did not go after proven receivers via free agency or trades. They drafted Gilyard, a potential slot receiver, but otherwise expressed satisfaction with the incumbents. If they are good enough to make plays down the field -- and apparently they are -- then they must be turned loose."

Brian Stull of 101ESPN St. Louis offers details relating to the lawsuit Rams linebacker David Vobora has filed against a company that manufactures supplements.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat provides a transcript from Patrick Willis' recent appearance with Tom Tolbert on KNBR radio. Barber: "Willis told Tolbert that he could play every position on the basketball court in high school and averaged 18.2 points as a senior. He also cited WR Josh Morgan at the 49ers' best hoops player. Willis talked a lot of wrestling and Madden football with KNBR, acknowledging that he plays online and adding, 'I be whuppin' 'em, too.' "

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee updates 49ers-related contract situations. Barrows: "The 49ers have to set aside money in 2011 and beyond for a starting quarterback whether that person is (Alex) Smith or Smith's replacement. The 49ers are expecting Smith to take a big step forward this season and lead the team to the playoffs. If he does, he can expect to be rewarded. If he doesn't, the 49ers will have to find another franchise QB."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers this thought on Smith during a 49ers chat transcript: "Throughout his career, Alex has always tried to please people. I think he now lets things roll off his back a little better. His attitude has changed this offseason in the sense that he's not learning from a new coordinator. This is the first time there has been 100-percent carryover from one season to the next. I think that is reflected in his demeanor and confidence. But we're also five months from the beginning of the regular season. Ask me again in mid-October."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Jordan Babineaux has no problem moving to strong safety after the team drafted Earl Thomas. Farnsworth: "Since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2004, he had been a part-time starter at cornerback (four games in 2005) and strong safety (eight games in 2006) before stepping in at free safety last season. But most of his impact plays -- those that earned him the nickname 'Big Play Babs' -- came while lining up closer to the line of scrimmage as the third corner responsible for covering the slot receiver in the nickel defense. Now, with the arrival of Thomas and his coverage skills, Babineaux will be back playing closer to the action."

Ben Malcolmson of seahawks.com passes along photos from Rod Mar showing various Seahawks working out as part of the offseason program.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says suffering a torn ACL isn't nearly as serious these days thanks to advances in surgery and rehabilitation. Urban on Cardinals rookie O'Brien Schofield: "Schofield becomes easier to bet upon. Checked at the scouting combine and then rechecked a couple of times, Schofield underwent not only an ACL repair but also a repair of a torn lateral meniscus. By choosing to repair instead of cutting out the damaged meniscus, Schofield’s recovery in the short-term will be slowed. But it will help his knee long-term by avoiding arthritic problems caused by losing the cartilage."