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Thursday, September 2, 2010
Around the NFC West: Arizona tradewinds

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are open to trading Matt Leinart and guard Reggie Wells. Somers: "The Cardinals became overstocked at guard this offseason when they signed Alan Faneca and Rex Hadnot in free agency. Wells moved from left guard to right guard to make room for Faneca and has been on the first team since last spring. Lutui reported to training camp overweight but has been dropping pounds and making the contest closer. With Hadnot and Jeremy Bridges capable of playing guard, there has been speculation that the Cardinals could part with either Lutui or Wells, barring injuries at the position. Wells is in the last year of his contract and is due to make $2.4 million this year."

Trading Wells would make sense given the depth Arizona enjoys, but how many teams would want to absorb that salary two days before roster cuts?

Also from Somers: says Darnell Dockett wants to retire as a member of the Cardinals. Somers: "This is Dockett's second extension and was two years in the making. Until this year, Dockett didn't hesitate to express his unhappiness with his contract. In 2009, he sat out minicamp because of a hamstring injury that coach Ken Whisenhunt compared to a seasonal allergy. Dockett also skipped all off-season workouts. Cardinals management, meanwhile, was adamant about not extending any contract that had more than two years left. This year, however, Dockett was a regular at off-season workouts. His goal, he said, was not to convince the Cardinals to pay him, but to keep his word to free agents he helped recruit, including outside linebacker Joey Porter."

More from Somers: key players in the Dockett negotiations. No mention of general manager Rod Graves, though, and that's probably fine by Graves, who prefers a low profile. It's also a reflection of Whisenhunt's standing within the organization.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com passes along this thought from Dockett regarding the players Arizona has lost recently: "Granted, we can’t keep everybody. We wish we had those guys, but we tried to get those guys. That’s what a lot of people have to understand, we tried to keep people, it wasn’t like we ignored them and let them go. I have talked to Coach about those things. I wanted to make sure I am here and will do whatever I can to keep other guys around with a winning attitude."

Ben Malcolmson of seahawks.com says Jerry Rice surprised Seahawks players by showing up at their team meeting in Oakland on Wednesday. A photo shows a smiling Matt Hasselbeck greeting his former teammate. Sean Locklear and Craig Terrill were rookies when Rice played for Seattle in 2004. Rice: "If you want me to play 10-15 plays tomorrow night, I could probably do it."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com updates Mike Williams' progress in the receiver's return from career irrelevance. Williams' signing could stand as one of the most improbable home runs in recent NFL personnel memory. There are times when Williams appears to be the best receiver on Seattle's roster. He has excellent hands and he's a willing blocker, too. Coach Pete Carroll: "To see Mike come out and be effective, that’s a really good sign for him. Physically, it’s the best I’ve seen him since maybe his sophomore year of college. He’s very serious about it, so maybe he has a chance to give us some help."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times singles out veterans to watch in the Seahawks' final game of the 2010 exhibition season: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Owen Schmitt, Julius Jones and Jordan Babineaux. A scout I spoke with Wednesday thought releasing Babineaux could be a consideration. Babineaux is scheduled to earn $2.45 million in salary this season, hardly a prohibitive number, but more than his role might justify. Babineaux has had additional value in the past because the Seahawks knew he could play some cornerback if necessary. Rookie Earl Thomas provides even greater flexibility that way, and the Josh Wilson trade showed how much Seattle likes its depth at cornerback anyway.

Also from O'Neil: a run through the Seahawks' roster. He thinks the Tyler Polumbus trade could put Mansfield Wrotto on notice. Polumbus did start eight games for the Broncos last season.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com checks in with Lawyer Milloy. Carroll: "He's had an excellent preseason. He's been all over the place. He's shown the kind of hitting that we love to see on defense, the toughness that he brings. He's been very, very studious as far as his alignments and calls and all that kind of stuff. It doesn't matter how old he is, he's a good football player and we're lucky to have him."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Ben Obomanu finds himself in a familiar position heading into the final exhibition game of the season.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has the Seahawks keeping 11 defensive linemen on their initial 53-man roster. That's an unusually high number, but Seattle did keep 11 in Week 1 last season -- the highest number I can recall for any team in the NFC West.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams kicker Josh Brown is seeking greater accuracy after a down 2009 season. A hip injury this summer has actually helped Brown get needed rest, the kicker said. Brown on his 2009 stats: "Those numbers are not the numbers I want to have or to reflect how much I care about what I'm doing. Took a lot of inventory this year in what we were doing and how we were approaching the game, and it's been paying off."

Also from the Post-Dispatch: a look at the Rams' roster. Daniel Fells and Fendi Onobun reside on the bubble.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at Rams roster battles. Quarterback Keith Null: "I don't think anybody in this business can ever really get comfortable. I think once you do that, then you're not really giving out your full effort -- you're not really competing like you should. I still feel like I'm trying to get here (on the final 53), and even get on the field somehow."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers will give Alex Smith the night off when the team plays its final game of the exhibition season, an indication the coaching staff is pleased with Smith to this point and no longer concerned about getting reps for him.

Also from Maiocco: a 49ers roster projection showing Nate Davis, Kyle Williams, Tony Wragge, Alex Boone, Dominique Zeigler and Phillip Adams earning roster spots.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wonders whether Michael Crabtree will play in the 49ers' final exhibition game.

Sam Good of 49ers.com checks in with Khalif Mitchell, who is fighting for a roster spot with the 49ers.

Also from 49ers.com: a transcript from coach Mike Singletary's media session, featuring comments about the confrontation involving Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Singletary: "They were both wrong. And we will not have distractions on this team. Vernon just forgot temporarily, and that is not allowed. We don’t do that. We don’t treat family like that. We don’t disrespect each other. And I just needed to remind him that that’s not who we are. He’s fine. He did a great job. He’s one of the captains. He did the right thing, but he did it the wrong way. So, that’s all I’m going to say about that."

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat checks in with the 49ers' Adams.

More from Barber: Could the 49ers' entire 2010 draft class earn roster spots?

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle details the Crabtree-Davis dispute.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Crabtree's extended injury-related absence from practice could have been a point of contention between Crabtree and Davis. That stands as a logical issue.