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Monday, February 1, 2010
Mailbag: Peppers on NFC West fans' minds

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Saints' first media session of Super Bowl week has been pushed back nearly 2 hours from the originally scheduled time.

Rainy weather led the Saints to seek an indoor practice facility. Instead of working out at the University of Miami on Monday afternoon, as previously scheduled, the Saints relocated to the Dolphins' indoor facility. New Orleans will have to practice elsewhere once the Colts arrive because this is where Indianapolis scheduled its practices all week.

It's seemingly possible, then, that the Colts could be the only team able to escape rains this week. We'll learn more from Saints coach Sean Payton, who is scheduled to address reporters at 5:30 p.m. ET. Update: Payton indicated the league had made a plan that could allow both teams use of indoor facilities.

Julius Peppers
NFC West fans wonder if Peppers will end up in the division.
In the meantime, I've dipped into the NFC West mailbag, where a common theme has dominated recent submissions.

Jericho from Tacoma, Wash., writes: Hey Sando, the possibility of a Julius Peppers signing for the Seahawks has just entered my mind. With Paul Allen's money bags, the current abysmal pass rush, and the lack of a CBA for the 2010-2011 season, this makes too much sense to not happen. Thoughts?

Mike Sando: That is the sort of move a team makes to compensate for poor drafting. On the one hand, general manager John Schneider comes from a personnel tree featuring Ted Thompson, Mike Reinfeldt and others who believe in building through the draft and avoiding the big-money deals in free agency. Schneider and new coach Pete Carroll also want to go young. On the other hand, Schneider described himself as more aggressive than Thompson. Schneider also comes from Green Bay, where his first mentor, Ron Wolf, made a bold move for another dominant defensive end, landing Reggie White in one of the most significant moves in NFL history.


Kyle from Tempe, Ariz., writes: It seems pretty evident that 49ers general manager Scot Mcloughan wants to build through the draft. That being said, there could be some serious value in grabbing a guy like Julius Peppers in free agency. I hope they re-sign Aubrayo Franklin, but if they don't, isn't grabbing a solid DE a necessity this offseason?

Mike Sando: Franklin plays the nose and the 49ers can always use their franchise tag on him if need be. They will keep him one way or another. Adding Pepppers would help, but you're right about the 49ers viewing themselves as having grown to a point where they do not have to overpay for need, particularly on defense.


Ryan from Phoenix writes: Hey Mike, tell me what you think of this off-season headline: "Cardinals sign Julius Peppers to boost pass rush." As a life long Cardinals fan, I think it would be pretty sweet to see this happen now that it seems likely he's gonna hit the open market.

Mike Sando: The Cardinals probably are not going to pay some of their own players much. It's tough to envision them making the type of play needed to land Peppers. Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett are much cheaper, no matter how much it pains Dockett to read this sentence.


Josh from Los Angeles writes: Hey Mike, have you heard anything out of the Rams concerning who they might draft? I know it's kind of early, but any clue as to which way they may be leaning? I personally think they should go with Ndamukong Suh because he is the best defensive tackle prospect since Warren Sapp, but that's me. What are your thoughts and which way do you think they will go?

Mike Sando: I'll be speaking with Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo later in the week. They will not tip their hand this early, most likely, but I tend to think they could be inclined to select Suh as a needed cornerstone up front on defense. The team addressed its offensive line last offseason. The defensive line needs to be a priority now, even though last year's first-rounder, Chris Long, showed significant improvement in 2009. Suh would make a lot of sense for a Spagnuolo-coached team, I think.

Then I could see the Rams trying to find a somewhat reasonably priced veteran quarterback to help get them through the season. That would be based on the idea that there doesn't seem to be an obvious No. 1-type quarterback available this year.