Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Around the NFC West: Cutting their losses
By Mike Sando
NFC West teams recently cast aside three relatively high draft choices aged between 23 and 26. The moves showed a willingness to disregard draft status when making decisions.
Whether recent NFC West castoffs O'Brien Schofield, John Moffitt and A.J. Jenkins become key contributors with their new teams is critically important to the players involved. It's less of a consideration for their original teams for a few reasons that come to mind:
- Schofield: The Arizona Cardinals released Schofield, a 2010 fourth-round choice, after signing pass-rusher John Abraham. They had a new coaching staff. They had to know Schofield might leave in free agency after the 2013 season anyway. They had to consider whether his $1.3 million salary fit into their plans under the circumstances. Schofield is looking good in Seattle Seahawks camp and figures to earn a spot on their 53-man roster. His willingness to accept a new contract offering injury protections to the team provided affirmed the value judgment Arizona made.
- Moffitt: The Seahawks' offensive line was in bad shape when the team used early choices for Moffitt and James Carpenter in the 2011 draft. Depth on the line and throughout the roster has improved significantly since then. Moffitt, a third-round pick, hadn't won a starting job and did not necessarily project among the nine linemen likely to earn spots on the 53-man roster. Other teams with less depth on their lines had interest in giving Moffit a shot. Cleveland was one of them. Denver was another. Moffitt wound up with the Broncos after the Browns failed Moffitt on a physical examination.
- Jenkins: The San Francisco 49ers traded Jenkins, their 2012 first-round pick, to Kansas City for Jon Baldwin, the Chiefs' 2011 first-rounder. Players chosen in first rounds usually get more time to develop than the 49ers gave Jenkins. The fact that Baldwin was available following a coaching and front-office change in Kansas City gave the 49ers a chance at getting something in return. Baldwin is much bigger than Jenkins, giving him a better shot at matching up against the physically imposing corners San Francisco will face in the NFC West especially.
Note that the St. Louis Rams have not made such a move to this point in the preseason. They appear willing to allow additional time for 2012 second-round receiver Brian Quick to develop. Running back Isaiah Pead, another second-round pick from that draft class, will be another player to watch. He hasn't made much impact to this point.