Thursday, March 3, 2011
Chat wrap: Labor talks and free agency
By Mike Sando
The latest NFC West chat passed while the NFL and its players considered buying time to continue working toward an agreement. This extension would postpone union decertification and an NFL lockout while the sides continued talking. It would not clear the way for free agency to begin under terms of the old agreement.
A few chat highlights:
Corey (D.C.): Mike, recent reports say Matt Hasselbeck turned down the Seahawks' latest offer. Do you have a pulse on what his plans are? I could see him playing well in Arizona, SF, or Minnesota.
Mike Sando: There is no agreement, so he has not accepted the Seahawks' offer. I wouldn't get too wrapped up in the "finality" such a statement suggests. Sure, I could see Hasselbeck playing for the Cardinals, 49ers or Vikings. And I think the Seahawks would move on and live for another day. But if they can upgrade their offensive line, keeping Hasselbeck at a reasonable price would make sense. I think they would be reasonable offering more than the $8 million he averaged on his previous deal. I do not think they should be offering way more than that, based on how Hasselbeck has played most of the time. Kurt Warner got $11.5 million per year coming off a Super Bowl. Hasselbeck is not coming off that type of season.
CHRIS (Columbia, SC): Hello Mike. After watching the combine and looking at the needs of my beloved St. Louis Rams I have to say I was most impressed with Julio Jones and I think you are right we need to surround Sam Bradford with talent. That being said I believe we should spend the first round on a OLB or a DT. Drafting someone at those positions would most likely start immediately and still get an offensive weapon to contribute like Torrey Smith, Leonard Hankerson, or Titus Young in the 2nd or 3rd. I just see whoever we draft OLB or DT would have a better chance in getting into the starting lineup than a DE or WR. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando: Good thoughts, Chris. I'd have no problem with the Rams taking a front-line player at defensive tackle in particular, and linebacker secondarily. The team needs young talent at those positions.
Cedric (Memphis, TN): Hey Mike! Am I the only 49ers fan that thinks Alex Smith still can be a good productive winning QB in the NFL? I truly believe the organization has failed him more than he has failed them or us as fans. When he was under what I think has been his only real offensive coordinator/QB coach (Norv Turner) he looked good and like he was gonna be good. Then we hire all these defensive guys as head coach who get puppets as the OC and nobody further developed the guy. Oh, and let's not forget Mike Martz who was allowed to bring in his own QB to start that was never any good. Please help me here Mike, am I right?
Mike Sando: Good? Productive? Winning? Alex Smith might be able to be those things. I'm fine with the 49ers keeping him around. But they obviously will not bank on him the way they did when he was coming out of college as the top overall pick. Keeping him as part of the mix differs from committing to him.
JR (Tradeland): Mr. Sando, first off love what you do for the NFC West. Do you think the Cardinals can afford to draft a QB with the 5th pick with Fitzgerald in his contract year and the pressure of starting such a high pick sooner rather than later, especially considering Fitz has a no franchise tag clause in his current deal?
Mike Sando: Thanks. The Cardinals should take into account what moves might mean for Larry Fitzgerald, but they cannot bypass drafting a franchise quarterback just because it might hurt them with Fitzgerald in the short term. They need to build their team the way other teams build: starting at quarterback. Now, if they are less sure about the quarterback prospects in the draft, perhaps Fitzgerald's situation makes them feel better about going in another direction.
Thanks for taking part. Here's hoping we get some labor clarity soon.