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Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Around the NFC West: Ware's value

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals and safety Matt Ware are talking about a new contract. Somers: "Ware played in the team's nickel and dime packages, allowing strong safety Adrian Wilson the flexibility to move closer to scrimmage. When Ware suffered a knee injury in December, the Cardinals pass defense suffered, too." Ware has value as depth, but I'd be a little skeptical about plugging him into the defense as a starter if Antrel Rolle departed this offseason. The Cardinals would could feel more comfortable about the Rolle situation if they felt Rashad Johnson were ready to become a starter.

Also from Somers: what to expect when the Cardinals extend tenders to their restricted free agents. On receiver Steve Breaston: "The Cardinals are likely to give him the first round tender of $2.396 million rather than a second-round tender ($1.684 million) or a lower tender ($1.1 million) that would give them a fifth-round pick in the event the Cardinals didn't match an offer from another team."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com doesn't expect Arizona to draft Tim Tebow. Urban: "They need quarterbacks, but if you are iffy on Tebow’s ability to play that spot, there are better risks as the position. Now, if Tebow was saying he was willing to play any position coming in, well, that might change some things. He leaped 38.5 inches, ran a 4.72 40-yard dash and showed all kinds of athleticism both in college and at the Scouting combine that at a shade under 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, he seeming would make a good tight end/H-back/fullback."

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com doesn't expect the Seahawks to consider USC safety Taylor Mays with one of their first-round choices despite impressive workout numbers at the combine. Johns: "This is a topic we previously discussed with NFL draft expert Rob Rang, who feels Berry is the only safety worth discussing with one of Seattle's top picks, given the team's numerous other needs."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who spent part of his week reading Dr. Seuss books to grade-school kids. Hasselbeck: "Usually when I’m reading books to children it’s late at night and you can get a little tired. I didn’t fall asleep, which happens sometimes at home. So it was a success."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says C.J. Spiller isn't an every-down back and that could be fine by Seattle. O'Neil: "Now, this isn't a campaign for Seattle to choose Spiller at No. 14. That very well might be too high for a back who might touch the ball only a dozen times per game, especially if a team believes it can find someone to make a similar impact with those opportunities later in the draft order. But in analyzing what Seattle will look for in the backfield, it's important to see that the template (Pete) Carroll found success with at USC and referenced more obliquely at the scouting combine: He used multiple backs with different strengths as opposed to one primary ball carrier."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune explores Peter King's thoughts on whether Tim Tebow would fit with Seattle, including this one: "Hasselbeck is probably one of the best quarterbacks to learn from. Hasselbeck won’t feel threatened by Tebow possibly taking his job, and he would be a good mentor for a young quarterback working on his mechanics and learning the game like Tebow."

Also from Williams: Seattle has drafted only two running backs in the first round, hitting on both (Curt Warner, Shaun Alexander). Williams: "Perhaps the best combination of speed and strength is Ryan Mathews, a Fresno State product who led the nation in rushing yards per game (151.3). At 5-11, 225 pounds, and with a 4.45 40-yard time, Mathews could be the every-down back NFL teams covet. Carroll came away from the combine impressed with the overall depth at running back."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch say the Rams and other teams appear to have budgets in place as if 2010 were a capped season. Thomas: "With so many more restricted free agents, teams are closely watching the different level of tender offers placed on them. The deadline for placing such tenders is Thursday. Restricted free agents can be tendered at anywhere from zero draft-pick compensation, to original draft pick level, to second-round, first-round, or first- and third-round. The higher the draft pick compensation, the higher the dollar amount of the tender offer."

Also from Thomas: a chat transcript featuring thoughts on whether Sam Bradford's shoulder injury makes him a high-risk selection. Thomas: "Point taken on Bradford's shoulder. I know the counter argument is, well, look at Drew Brees. Well, Drew Brees was already established as a very good NFL quarterback before his shoulder problems. That's not the case with Bradford, who's basically had 2 years as a starter in college. Not a very big body of work. I know it's been a fair assumption to think that (Colt) McCoy will be there at the top of the second, but even (Rams general manager Billy) Devaney thinks there's a possibility he may go late first. Top of the second may be kind of high for (Dan) LeFevour, but I think he'll go in the second. I wish he would have thrown at the combine. As for Pike, I don't know. But I don't think he goes in the second round."

More from Thomas: The Rams have no interest in bringing back cornerback Jonathan Wade.

More yet from Thomas: The Rams made qualifying offers to their eight exclusive-rights free agents, usually a formality.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers a post-combine chat transcript featuring this thought on Spiller: "As you all know, personally I am very high on Spiller because I think he provides immediate benefits an both offense and special teams. However, he does not fit the 49ers' philosophy, which has been pretty rigid the last five years. I think the 49ers would feel much more comfortable taking him at 17 than at 13."

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says some 49ers fans are upset after the team reclassified about 2,000 tickets as premium, raising prices from $98 to $149 per game. Said fan Paul Kemp: "This is the most Draconian thing a sports team can do its fans. Why punish the people who have been so loyal to you? A 50 percent increase in this economy? I've never heard of such a thing."