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J from New York writes: What do you think the fallout would be if the Hawks were to cut T.J. Duckett to make room for Justin Forsett? I understand Duckett has $4 million guaranteed, but is that really going to matter, cap-wise, considering his deal is spread out over the course of his contract? Also, do you see this actually happening? or do you see them somehow carrying 6 RB's? Also, instead of using up roster spots for extra WR's to open the season. How about PUP'ing Branch and using Wallace as the last resort guy at WR? This would save the 2 dead roster spots that Branch and Engram would be taking up and it would also give Branch some extra rehad time. Very comfortable with the Hawks young group of rcvrs. Sorry about all the Q's.
Mike Sando: Duckett has a $2 million guaranteed roster bonus due in 2009. Cutting him would be more embarrassing than injurious to the salary cap. His cap number for 2009 would shrink if the Seahawks released him. His cap number this season is $1.055 million. It jumps to $4.95 million in 2009 if Duckett is on the roster to collect his $2.5 million base salary. But if Seattle cut him this summer, the 2009 cap number would be $3.6 million by my count. Matt Hasselbeck's deal counts nearly $10 million against the 2009 cap.
The guaranteed money suggests the Seahawks have a roster spot for Duckett. I could see Seattle keeping six running backs. It's easier to do if Deion Branch is healthy enough to contribute right away. I wouldn't PUP Branch because then he's out until well into October.
Adam from Sacramento writes: After the game against the Packers, all I can say is Superbowl here we come!!! jk... Seriously, the 49ers looked much better, especially the line play on both sides of the ball. What do you think about the improved pass rush? Is it the real deal or just preseason protection issues from GB? And what do you think about O'Sullivan? He seems to make some really bad decisions, i.e. the Woodson pick. Thanks Sando!
Mike Sando: It's good for the 49ers to enjoy some success. This season could blow up on them depending on what happens at quarterback. The defensive talent appears to be pretty good. I think the 49ers could still use a dynamic defensive lineman, but so could a lot of teams. The 49ers have had talent on their offensive line. Those guys just haven't always worked well together for whatever reason. Some guys have the measurables. Some guys are gamers. The best guys are both.
O'Sullivan has been a career backup for a reason, probably, so a breakout season would surprise a lot of people. The emergence of Josh Morgan is something that should excite you. Jason Hill made a play the other night. Keep your fingers crossed on Jonas Jennings. He looks better so far. Ray McDonald has talent. He works hard. He needs to work on sustaining that level of play for extended periods. Some players do that better than others.
Kevin from San Diego writes: Sando - I keep hearing that Mike Holmgren is a possibility for openings in San Fran. Either prez to gm to even head coach. Isn't there a rule that you can't be a part of an organization (10 years even!) and join a division rival? Can't the Seahawks make him an offer to be a part of their upper management group, say, Ruskell's boss??? Thanks.
Mike Sando: Holmgren is from San Francisco and he has ties to the 49ers' glory years, so those rumors make a lot of sense. He also has a good working relationship with 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan, who worked under Holmgren in Seattle several years ago.
I know Holmgren perked up when the Dolphins gave Bill Parcells all that money to be the guy who hires the guy who hires the guy. It's the perfect job. If your team loses, the coach is out. If the next coach loses, then the GM is out. The top guy is very much insulated from blame, yet he gets to make the big-picture decisions without putting in all those hours.
Holmgren would also bring instant credibility to a struggling franchise. We should also remember that Holmgren, by his own admission, still has the itch to be a general manager. The way the GM job went down in Seattle still doesn't sit well with him.
Forget about the Seahawks elevating Holmgren over Tim Ruskell. Not feasible.
Mike Sando: Thanks for passing along the site. We'll check it out.
Mike Sando: Martz would be pushing O'Sullivan if he thought O'Sullivan gave the 49ers the best chance to win. Their history together in Detroit would explain as much. I don't see how that would discredit Nolan, though. Nolan has his own unpleasant history with Smith. Nolan never gives the impression he's hoping Smith wins the job.
Also, Martz would not necessarily be the next head coach if Nolan were fired. I touched on this the other day. I would expect the team to look at other candidates, including linebackers coach Mike Singletary and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Mike Sando: I'm sure the Seahawks haven't determined playing time for that game yet. They need to identify a starter at this point. Forsett did play well enough to command some snaps earlier in games, but I don't know how the plan will evolve this week.
Mike Sando: The Cardinals were playing a poor offensive opponent, so I wouldn't read much into that game. However, in general, I think the Cardinals have improved their depth in the front seven. They have some capable pass rushers. I expect Clancy Pendergast, the defensive coordinator, to have some fun with various combinations. Seattle has found ways to make the Cardinals pay for being aggressive, but the Cardinals appear willing to live with some of those risks for the most part.
Mike Sando: This goes back to what I alluded to earlier. The 49ers have assembled some talented offensive linemen over the years, but some of them have looked better on paper than turf. Much more goes into line play than having strength and quick feet. Some guys are gamers. They just get the job done. It doesn't always look pretty, but they find a way. The 49ers have seemingly needed more of those guys.
Mike Sando: I would be shocked if the Rams won the NFC West this season. I would have given them an outside chance earlier in the offseason. The more I've seen of them, the less convinced I've become. It's tough when Dante Hall is your third receiver. I won't write off the Rams until I see how the offense looks with Steven Jackson in the lineup. He changes a lot of things for the Rams. So far, though, the team's poor depth appears problematic.
Mike Sando: The Giants and Jets have separate home locker rooms at Giants Stadium.
Mike Sando: The Cardinals need to develop Matt Leinart and stay healthy on the offensive line. If those two things happen, I think it's a successful season. Ken Whisenhunt strikes me as a good head coach. I like the way Russ Grimm approaches the offensive line. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley has drawn interest for other jobs. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast is very creative. Those are the primary assistants. They seem pretty solid.