Around the NFC West: Harbaugh to Moss

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
9:35
AM ET
Coach Jim Harbaugh might be the best quarterback under contract to the San Francisco 49ers.

He'll be the one throwing to free-agent receiver Randy Moss during a tryout Monday.

"Former Colt Pro Bowl QB throwing for 49ers tomorrow," 49ers CEO Jed York tweeted Sunday night. "Just to clarify, Coach Harbaugh is turning into Capt. Comeback to throw to Randy Moss."

Harbaugh, 48, is 13 years older than Moss, but their playing careers overlapped from 1998 to 2000. Harbaugh did go to a Pro Bowl, in 1995.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has this to say about the 49ers' potential interest in Moss: "The 6-4 veteran seems to fit a profile the 49ers are seeking. Last year in free agency, they went after big-bodied veterans Plaxico Burress and Braylon Edwards before signing Edwards to a one-year deal."

Also from Barrows: Re-signing receiver Josh Morgan appears to be a priority.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat asks former 49ers assistant Fred von Appen about the bounty-related accusations former Redskins pass-rusher Dexter Manley leveled against Bill Walsh. Von Appen strongly denied the allegations, offering an explanation: "Bill lined up Russ (Francis) on the outside. He brought Russ in motion. Joe (Montana) got the snap when Russ got to Manley. Manley would rush Joe and Russ got Manley from the outside. It was unexpected and it was brilliant. You see, Manley lined up over Keith Fahnhorst. Keith wasn’t big, and found it hard to manage Manley one on one. Bill's idea was to put a big, athletic, active man (Francis) on a big, athletic, active man (Manley). And it worked. Russ was a tremendous blocker. He could get a good piece of Manley, and he spun him a little bit -- and the ball's away. After a couple of cracks, Manley became paranoid and he slowed his rush down considerably. He didn’t know if the hit was coming from the inside or the outside. That's not a bounty. That’s a scheme. The intent was not to hurt Manley. It was to manage him."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says quarterback happenings around the NFL have limited Alex Smith's options in free agency. Noted: Smith appears to have only one intention, and that is to re-sign. I doubt he would seriously consider signing with another team.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Smith has a strong case for earning more than Mark Sanchez is getting on a new contract.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports from Arizona Cardinals headquarters following Peyton Manning's visit there. Somers: "Manning met with Cardinals coaches, management and a few players Sunday, but it's not believed he worked out for the team. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald spent a few hours with Manning in the morning before departing for an Australian vacation. Receiver Andre Roberts arrived at the facility shortly after Fitzgerald left. Team President Michael Bidwill arrived about an hour after Manning and received some advice from a fan who yelled, 'Michael, get it done!' "

Also from Somers: a tongue-in-cheek look at what Arizona (the state) can offer Manning. Somers: "If Manning buys in the Paradise Valley area, he could carpool with his coach, Ken Whisenhunt, or his top receiver, Fitzgerald. Even if Manning chooses to drive himself, he'll find Arizona is the perfect place for him. Here in the Phoenix Metro area, drivers have a tendency to switch lanes without notice, often without looking to see if anyone is in the way. How does that help Manning? Well, if his surgically repaired neck starts to act up, he won't have to twist his body to check his blind spot before shifting lanes. The rest of us don't."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Manning has not told the Seattle Seahawks they're out of the running for his services. Noted: The absence of a rejection does not indicate interest. Nor would the absence of an acceptance necessarily indicate rejection. At this point, however, there is simply no evidence Manning will seriously consider Seattle.

Art Thiel of Sports Press Northwest says Manning would represent an "impulse buy" for the Seahawks. Thiel: "The OL greenness was a good part of the reason they could let go a veteran QB, Matt Hasselbeck, who still had game in him, as his first season in Tennessee established. But now, the pursuit of Manning goes against the plan, because Manning is available about a year too soon for the OL to do right by him. There's a chance that all could come together at once to make the Seahawks a 12-4 team. But at 36 and a year out of football, Manning would be silly, as is often heard at the senior-special buffet line, to buy green bananas. Seattle’s interest feels like an impulse buy."

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives new Rams general manager Les Snead credit for the trade St. Louis recently worked out with Washington. Miklasz: "There could also be a twist on the other end of the transaction. What happens if Rams quarterback Sam Bradford fails to reach his potential? The Rams doubled down on Bradford, and made this deal to put more talent around him. But if Griffin takes off and Bradford tails off, no one will backslap the Rams for making a brilliant trade. No, the pundits will shred the Rams silly for sticking with Bradford and skipping the chance to take RG3. No question, this deal puts more pressure on Sam."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch considers the Rams' options following the trade.

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