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Monday, February 22, 2010
Around the NFC West: Rolle's future

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the next two weeks are big for the Cardinals. He expects the Cardinals to release Antrel Rolle. Urban: "What that means is anyone’s guess. The Cardinals believe Rolle would like to come back, but again, it’s all relative when it comes to dollars. Could the Dolphins -- and Miami is home for Rolle -- come calling for big bucks given their issues with current free safety Gibril Wilson? Might the Giants, who had all kinds of secondary issues, choose to siphon away the guy who sealed their fate this past season? Someone else?"

Also from Urban: Cody Brown is looking to bounce back from an injury-shortened rookie season. Urban: "The Cardinals still have veteran Clark Haggans, and Brown’s good friend and fellow second-year player Will Davis made surprisingly solid strides in his own transition from college defensive end to linebacker. The Cardinals also signed CFL co-sack leader Stevie Baggs to see if Baggs can transition to the NFL. But it's Brown and another young player -- Mark Washington, who was signed to the practice squad with a month left in the season -- that have made enough of an impression the Cards hope pan out into production." Coach Ken Whisenhunt sounded optimistic about the situation at outside linebacker during a radio interview with KTAR 620 last week.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times wonders what Walter Jones has planned for the 2010 season. Jones indicated via Twitter on Super Bowl Sunday that he might be retiring, but he hasn't clarified those remarks. O'Neil: "The NFL Players Association Benefits department has received no documentation or any other indication he has officially retired. Jones is signed for next season at a salary of $7.3 million, but Seattle is not obligated to pay that total unless he's on the regular-season roster when the season begins. The fact the NFL's salary cap may disappear in two weeks makes the paper-value of Jones' contract even less relevant because he won't be eating up salary-cap space the Seahawks could otherwise spend."

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says there's no guarantee the Seahawks are excited about acquiring Brandon Marshall from the Broncos. Johns: "Should the Seahawks be interested? Marshall has averaged 102 catches for 1,236 yards over the past three seasons. T.J. Houshmandzadeh calls him the best receiver in the NFL. But there also is a big price with Marshall, both in terms of what it would cost to acquire and sign him as well as the difficulties he's caused his team at times. I'd label it a long shot that Marshall winds up in Seattle, but with a new regime and a desire by Pete Carroll to find greatness, never say never." I'd say it's likely the Broncos trade Marshall this offseason and, until we hear otherwise, Seattle would have to rank among the more logical destinations.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat sizes up the 49ers' current quarterbacks, noting that they've had a hard time living up to the team's history at the position. Maiocco: "From my viewpoint, Alex Smith has not convinced anybody he can be a reliable quarterback in the league. But, as he turns 26 in May, he has not proven to be a total lost cause, either. Only people who are biased one way or the other have already made those determinations. There's no question he has progressed when he's been on the field. He improved from his first season to his second. After his third and fourth seasons were virtually wiped out due to injuries, he was better in his fifth year than in his second. It's hard to believe he's reached his potential. But we also do not know how much higher he can go. For the first time, he will not have to spend the offseason learning a new system. He has a better supporting cast than any point in his career. He must take that next step in 2010."



Turf Show Times' VanRam says it's still possible for Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen to improve their draft standing significantly, perhaps enough for the Rams to consider one of them with the No. 1 overall choice. VanRam: "If Bradford looks like he did during his 2008 season when he works out for scouts on March 25 and his health checks out, it's hard not to imagine him as a legitimate first overall pick. If Jimmy Clausen puts to rest questions about his maturity, blows the door off his team interviews and looks sharp at his work out, he'll be in a similar situation as Bradford, solidifying his place in the conversation of potential top picks." The Rams need to draft a quarterback early at some point, but they need to do it for the right reasons. Lots of teams have regretted taking quarterbacks early.