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Monday, March 2, 2009
Around the NFC West: Warner above leverage?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says Kurt Warner isn't visiting the 49ers to gain leverage with the Cardinals, according to agent Mark Bartelstein. Bartelstein: "People assume things are being done to create leverage and that's not true. Anyone who knows Kurt Warner knows that's not the moral plane he operates under. He would never do something to create leverage."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' interest in Warner reflects a new aggressiveness under team president Jed York. Kawakami: "Everything about the idea of Kurt Warner coming to visit the 49ers sounds like a fine match, ideal in every way, birds chirping and a new day dawning. Everything except for the 49ers' conservative philosophy, newly hired offensive coordinator, soggy home field, unproven receivers and even more unproven immediate prospects."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat questions whether Mike Singletary's recruiting powers will mean much in landing Kurt Warner. Maiocco: "Only after a player signs with the 49ers [for more money] will he say, 'It wasn't about the money; I chose the 49ers because I want to be a part of something special here with Mike Singletary.' "

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Bartelstein refuses to disclose which teams Warner plans to visit. Bartelstein said he promised those teams he wouldn't say anything publicly about the visits. Not to worry. Teams must disclose all free-agent visits to the remaining teams, which makes it pretty tough to conceal visits.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com contrasts the Cardinals' offer to Warner with what Warner is asking from the team. Urban: "The Cardinals are offering around $20 million for two seasons. Warner is seeking a two-year deal closer to $13 million or $14 million per season. He is also believed to be seeking greater guaranteed money than that offered by the Cards."

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 lists guard Reggie Wells among the Cardinals' candidates for offensive player of the year. Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are the other nominees.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the Seahawks pried Colin Cole away from Green Bay even though Packers coach Mike McCarthy listed re-signing Cole among the team's offseason priorities. An NFL scout described Cole this way: "Not overly athletic, but athletic enough. He keeps the linebackers clean." 

John Morgan of Field Gulls takes an initial look at Cole's efforts during a Week 5 game against the Falcons. Enjoy the nice, clean screenshots.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Rams' remaining options in free agency. The Rams are not in the mix for running back Derrick Ward despite a phone conversation between Ward and Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo. Talks with Ron Bartell's agent hit an impasse over the weekend. Safety James Butler remains an option. Thomas: "Free agent possibilities at safety include Sean Jones [Cleveland], Jermaine Phillips [Tampa Bay], and Jim Leonhard [Baltimore]. Options at cornerback include Phillip Buchanon [Tampa Bay], Bryant McFadden [Pittsburgh], Jabari Greer [Buffalo] and Leigh Bodden [Detroit]."