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Friday, March 19, 2010
Mailbag: Trades, draft, intrigue

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Eddie from Bellingham, Wash., writes: Seattle visited with Brandon Marshall, but it seems like the Seahawks aren't willing to give up either of their two first-round picks. Their interest in Marshall shows that that are looking to add a No. 1 receiver to their roster. How likely is it that they draft a receiver in the first round? Possibly Dez Bryant with the 14th pick, or maybe even with the sixth?

Mike Sando: The Marshall pursuit isn't necessarily over. We might find out how motivated the Broncos are to move him. Seattle could conceivably acquire him for less than the value established by the first-round tender.

The Seahawks' decision to trade away the 40th overall choice to San Diego might make it tougher for them to acquire Marshall in the short term, but the price for Marshall is probably headed in one direction -- south -- over the next five weeks. Let's see what Denver gets for Marshall in the end. None of the rumors about teams other than Seattle suddenly bidding on Marshall has come true to this point.

The Seahawks do need playmakers on offense. The philosophy now should be to arm Matt Hasselbeck and eventual starter Charlie Whitehurst with more weapons. From that standpoint, yes, I could see the Seahawks taking a receiver early (absent a deal for Marshall). New general manager John Schneider comes from Green Bay, where the the Packers used second-round choices for receivers Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and Terrence Murphy all in the last five drafts.


Ernest from Corpus Christi writes: Hey Mike, thanks for your time, and love the blog! I'm a long time 49er fan and have been waiting "patiently" for them to return to relevance and "elite" status. With Scot McCloughan leaving, there have been reports saying that the front office and ownership is a mess, and there's no way they will be able to find a reputable GM to come aboard, and basically the team is going to be headed back into a downward spiral. So Sando, very simply, how bad is it? Thanks.

Mike Sando: We can't know that yet. We need to know why McCloughan is leaving the 49ers. If forced out as part of a power grab, yes, the 49ers have problems. If he really did have personal issues that affected his job or required him to step away, that is different. I think the 49ers are getting a little bit of pass pending the release of additional information. If McCloughan leaves against his will and suddenly we're seeing others in the organization benefit, and it appears as though there are no personal issues of consequence, then the 49ers deserve the same criticism levied against Seattle for its front-office dysfunction during the Tim Ruskell-Mike Holmgren-Jim Mora situations.


Will from Sacramento writes: Hey Mike, first of all, I love your work, it's very thorough and always right on top of all the new information coming out. But my question is where do you see the Rams going with their second pick of the first round if the likes of cornerback Kareem Jackson, receiver Demaryius Thomas or an outside linebacker such as Sean Weatherspoon slips to them. Thanks I appreciate your time.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Will. That pick should give the Rams a chance to trade back for additional picks. Teams will have all night between the 32nd and 33rd picks. They'll regroup and see players they want badly. The Rams, with so many needs, could then justify losing ground within the second round to help them add multiple prospects. That is one theory.

Some of this depends on what the Rams do with the first overall choice. The assumption is that they'll draft quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams might want an impact player on defense in the second round if they address quarterback in the first, but I think they also need to arm their next quarterback with more firepower. If the Rams move back, it might become a little harder to target a specific position.

The Rams have so many needs that they could justify using early picks for just about anything: quarterback, receiver, defensive line, linebacker, cornerback. They could use a tight end, too, but that is less of a premium position for teams building almost from scratch. Improving the offense needs to be the top priority for the Rams.


Victor from Goldsboro, N.C., writes: Mike, love the blog. I enjoy knowing I can always come here for the latest news and rumors for the NFC West. My question is about the Cardinals' quarterback of the future. It seems that Arizona doesn't really know where the position will go beyond 2010. Leinart's and Anderson's contracts both terminate after the 2011 season.

Presumably, they will re-sign whichever quarterback works out better for them this season to a new long-term deal and release the other, leaving them with only one quarterback (as things are right now). I'd even assume they will want a third-string quarterback for this season, and they've already signed one veteran. Do you think they would be more likely to sign another veteran, or draft a quarterback this year?

Maybe even a big-name quarterback that might need some polishing (they do have a decent quarterback coach) like Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow? Thanks and keep up the good work.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Victor. Leinart's contract will probably need to be addressed after the 2010 season. Clauses in the contract will push up the value high enough so that Arizona will have to decide whether Leinart should be paid as a good starting quarterback. Anderson's deal runs through 2011 without needing to be revisited.

If Leinart plays well and commands a long-term deal, the Cardinals could still keep Anderson as their backup in 2011. His deal would not be prohibitive under those circumstances. If Leinart does not play well this season, he's probably gone. Anderson would still be under contract, and he could either take over as starter or remain the backup for whichever starter the team found.