Thursday, March 5, 2009
Mailbag: 'Complacency' isn't always bad
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Ben from Chicago writes: Great piece on the Cards. I'm just as frustrated that besides Warner, they've made NO other moves in FA so far (besides to re-sign some minor players like their punter). What about Bryant McFadden? Did they offer him a contract? This complacency is so frustrating!
Mike Sando: Inactivity can also be good policy. Look at the "active" teams last offseason. Some of them fired coaches. The Browns were aggressive in adding Shaun Rogers and acting as though they were one or two players away from contending. Doesn't work that way.
The Jets were aggressive. Look where it got them. The Dolphins signed lots of players in unrestricted free agency, but most of them weren't the reason why Miami bounced back. The Raiders were over-the-top aggressive. No payoff.
The Steelers have won two of the last four Super Bowls without being aggressive in free agency. Lots of bad money gets spent this time of year. Something to keep in mind.
As for McFadden, I would expect something to get done with him sooner rather than later. The cornerback market has already moved, for the most part.
Paco from Hermosillo, Mexico writes: Hello Sando, thanks for all your hard work these days, really appreciate, I don't like fans going into panic mood about this whole thing. You mention some issues that have happened, but get real, most of it was expected. The only unexpected thing was the Kurt Warner situation and it was resolved.
But, for instance, they knew that Haley was going to the Chiefs during Super Bowl week. Clancy was getting fired at the end of the season if the Cardinals didn't win the Super Bowl. His defense had to be improved. As for Rutledge, he was getting fired regardless of the outcome of the Super Bowl.
The Boldin saga was expected to happen, and we don't know it's final, but trust me, it wasn't a surprise to anybody in the organization. Same with Edgerrin James. As for Karlos Dansby, he is getting his long term deal. They just prevented him from testing the free agent market, but his salary as a franshise player is too high, so they will sign him long term.
As for Antonio Smith, the Texans overpaid for this guy. We have his replacement ready in Calais Campbell. I would rather let other teams overpay for players and take a Steelers-like approach in free agency. About the assistant coaches, that has already been answered by the team, so it's not a big deal.
Bottom line, this is no time to panic. Whisenhunt, Graves and Michael Bidwill, are building something for the long run. Let's have some faith on them. After what they have done in their first two years together, they deserve that.
Mike Sando: Yes, the Cardinals could have expected to have issues with Haley, Pendergast, Smith, Boldin and James. It has been the manner in which those issues have unfolded that has deviated from how the Cardinals would have drawn it up. As I wrote in a previous mailbag, "I do think Ken Whisenhunt is the right coach. It's not time to panic by any means. But, like I said, the offseason has not gone to script for Arizona to this point."
Joshua from Fontana, Calif., writes: Wouldn't taking the best athletes in Aaron Curry or Michael Crabtree (Curry if lions pass) be better for the Rams? How could they pass on that talent? These guys will be stars.
Mike Sando: I agree with your thinking, but I also understand the Rams' needs on the offensive line. They've invested so much in Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson. Rebuilding the offensive line has to be a top priority and probably the top priority. Adding Jason Brown was a start. The situation at tackle puts pressure on the Rams to find a surefire starter at the position in this draft.
Doug from Yelm, Wash., writes: Will the Seahawks still run the West Coast Offense since Hasselbeck knows the system and Knapp is SF grown? What type of defense will the Seahawks run? All three starting linebackers are secure for next season, but with the bigger tackles is there a chance we'll see the 3-4?
Mike Sando: Greg Knapp does have a West Coast background. He will incorporate West Coast concepts without running a pure West Coast offense in the Mike Holmgren mold. Knapp is working extensively with Matt Hasselbeck to adapt terminology in ways that reduce confusion and speed the transition.
The Seahawks do not have the size at linebacker or defensive end to run a straight 3-4 system, in my view.
Jim from Dana Point writes: Enjoy your blog and info on NFC West and the Seahawks. With the addition of Colin Cole and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, what are the chances the Seahawks trade down and add picks since the only real top 10 talent in this draft are Aaron Curry and Michael Crabtree? Maybe trade down and get an OLl or DT and another wideout?
Mike Sando: The hard part can be finding someone willing to trade up.
Steve from Palisades Park, N.J., writes: Great blog, look forward to it. What I want to know is why were the 49ers trying to go after Warner who doesn't even want to play here, probably, when I'm sure Jeff Garcia would love to finish his career here while molding a young quarterback in Mark Sanchez or even Pat White?
Mike Sando: I'm with you. I'm not sure what Garcia wants at this stage of his career, but he would have provided an upgrade at quarterback for the 49ers. The team does want a veteran to help mentor younger quarterbacks. I don't know how Garcia projects that way, but Damon Huard should be strong in that area.
Rich from Bozeman, Mont., writes: hey mike! Since seattle signed housh and cole do you see seattle really even looking at a WR or DT in the draft? And how about a 2nd rd for shaun rogers in cleveland that wants out. that would be an amazing push in the middle to free up the ends and LBs to do what they needed to do? thanks
Mike Sando: I could see the Seahawks still taking a receiver early. I would be a little surprised if they took a defensive tackle in that fourth overall spot. If they did, though, they would have a promising group on th
e interior given Brandon Mebane's obvious abilities.
Shaun Rogers has asked out of his last two NFL cities. I'd be skeptical before I parted with a high draft choice and the cash Rogers might command. As a Seahawks fan, though, you surely remember Rogers at his best in that 2006 season opener.
Wilson from New York writes: If the Cards end up giving Warner more money because of his visit to the Niners, couldn't that be seen as somewhat of a positive?
The way I see it is that the Cards would have a lot of money invested in Warner to disallow them to make another big free agent splash. This would also take away from the space that could be used to keep Boldin happy.
And remember, Bert Berry is still a free agent, I believe. I understand 2010 is an uncapped year but have the Cards been known for throwing money around?
Mike Sando: The Cardinals reportedly still have more than $20 million in salary-cap space after signing Warner to a deal that counts more than $11 million against the cap in 2009 (I would think the number would be smaller, but I don't have that confirmed at present). As for making a splash in free agency, the Cardinals weren't going to do that anyway, and they certainly aren't going to do it now that the top players are signed. The list of available free agents simply doesn't feature many splash-worthy candidates.
Bertrand Berry played for $1 million last season. Signing him to a similar deal wouldn't be a problem under the cap.
Ryan from Vancouver, B.C., writes: Hey mike, love the blog keep up the awesome work. Now that the Seahawks have filled the needs at WR and DT with their 2 signings over the weekend, what do you see the team doing with the number 4 pick? I could foresee the team addressing there future needs at LT and QB, because i think if Mark Sanchez gets down to the number 4 he is an option or either Eugene Monroe or Jason Smith.
Also could you use the hawks getting a running back in the Second round because i can also see them picking up Chris Wells if he drops to them in the second round and from chats i have had on blog there are still fans wondering about that position at RB.
Mike Sando: I've been a little skeptical about Seattle drafting an offensive tackle with the fourth overall pick given how much the team has invested in Sean Locklear and Walter Jones. However, the signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh might make it easier for the Seahawks to take a longer-range view in terms of how quickly the fourth overall choice would realistically affect the team.
I still think they would be best off targeting a 2009 starter with that pick. Would an offensive tackle help the Seahawks for the long term? Yes. Would he help in 2009? Harder to say. The financial investment for a high draft choice is such that it's tough to sacrifice one year of the player's contract life while he sits on the bench.
Pat from San Francisco writes: Why were the 49ers so infatuated with Kurt Warner? He seems to be more of a system quarterback that would not fit in the new 49er scheme? Wouldn't Jay Cutler make more sense? Why do you think they have not made a public push for the disgruntled QB? I would be willing to trade draft choices for the pro bowler, especially because he has played in a run-oriented Denver system his entire career. What are your thoughts?
Mike Sando: The 49ers had to know signing Warner would be unlikely. By making a push for him, I guess they could appear to be "aggressive" and doing everything possible to upgrade their team. It just seemed unrealistic to think Warner would sign with San Francisco.
I've received numerous mailbag items from 49ers fans wanting their team to make a push for Jay Cutler. Arlan in Santa Clara, Jay from Gainesville and Graylin in San Diego made their cases, while Ernest from Dallas wanted Garcia. John from Tucson had an even more ambitious suggestion. He wanted the Cardinals to let Warner sign with San Francisco so they could make their own push for Cutler.
Cutler was probably less in play than he appeared to be after the initial reports of the Broncos' conversations with the Chiefs and Bucs. I do think adding Cutler would have made more sense than adding Warner. In the end, both were not going to happen, most likely.