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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Richard from New York writes: Mike, apologies if you've covered this during the preseason, but could you explain again how waivers work? Doesn't this mean that another team could sign the player? Why would a team "waive" one of its draft picks so early on (e.g., Seahawks/Forsett)? I thought Forsett was signed to a multiyear deal?
Mike Sando: Not a problem, Richard. It's a good question and something we should brush up on every so often.
Late-round draft choices fail to earn roster spots somewhat routinely. Justin Forsett was a seventh-round choice. NFL teams drafted 80 players in the sixth and seventh rounds this season. Half those players were not on 53-man rosters as of midweek.
Contracts can include guaranteed money, but the contracts themselves are not guaranteed. An NFL team can terminate a veteran's contract, making the player eligible to sign a new contract with another team.
Nonveterans can be waived. Another team can file a waiver claim. If more than one team claims a player, the team with the worst record in the previous season prevails. The league then awards the waived player to the claiming team. The claiming team inherits the waived player's contract.
Mike Sando: The feeling here is that the current coaching staff isn't all that excited about Smith. And I would not expect Smith to be excited about sticking around after all he's been through. I would never say never. Lots of things can happen, including coaching changes. But the odds are against Smith ever playing for the 49ers again.
Mike Sando: I really like how Wallace has attacked the game, improved every year and embraced his role. He strikes me as a true professional that way. Height might be the knock on Wallace as the full-time starter.
Mike Sando: Thanks Goose. Where do you keep hearing Roy Williams' name in connection with Seattle? I do know Seahawks president Tim Ruskell is close to Lions coach Rod Marinelli. They worked together in Tampa. But I haven't heard anything tangible about a big-name trade. Seattle might need to sign a veteran offensive lineman if something happens to Floyd Womack.
Mike Sando: It makes no sense on the surface. Experience tells me this means Seattle really likes Brandon Coutu as the long-term kicker, and Seattle knows another team would sign him to its 53-man roster.
Mike Sando: Thanks, Toby. Ulbrich and Spikes are subbing in different nickel packages. The feeling early was that Spikes would win the starting job. That has not yet happened. It looks like both are going to play.
Mike Sando: The coaching staff has a secondary role. The personnel department has the primary role. Tim Ruskell makes the decisions. Mike Holmgren has a voice, but not the final call.
I don't expect him to be much better than an average receiver. But if over the next few weeks he surprises people and catches everything thrown his way and puts up #1 receiver type numbers, wouldn't it be foolish for the Hawks to not keep playing him, even when the starters are healthy again? I can see protecting him from injury when you know he's a good backup QB and an unknown quantity at WR, but if he proves himself over these next few weeks, I think it would be foolish not to drastically increase his roll going forward.
Mike Sando: I would definitely leave Wallace at receiver if he put up No. 1-receiver numbers. The team could not sit him on the bench if he were catching six balls for 100 yards every week.
Mike Sando: I do not expect another move for a veteran in time for the Week 2 game. I could see the team signing Michael Bumpus from the practice squad late in the week, perhaps Saturday.
Mike Sando: Thanks, Scott. My wife picks up our oldest son from school each afternoon. She has retired from picking games against me. I think she got tired of embarrassing me.
Mike Sando: Thanks, Rich. I think Mark Cuban has his hands full already. The stadium situation is a problem for the 49ers' current ownership group. The team is less valuable as a result. It's harder to lure a proven coach and harder to run a first-rate organization. Scot McCloughan is a solid football man who learned from Ron Wolf in Green Bay. The jury is still out on his skills as a general manager. We have no evidence that the current ownership group is the one to lead this organization to a Super Bowl.
Mike Sando: The same thing Matt Williamson, Pat Yasinskas and John Clayton are smoking. Matt and Pat also voted the 49ers as the No. 24 team. Clayton voted the 49ers at No. 23.
Mike Sando: I would not keep two kickers. Brandon Coutu had a strong preseason. An injury slowed him. The Seahawks obviously think he would not clear waivers. At some point, the Seahawks will most likely release Olindo Mare and go with Coutu as the full-time guy. It's quite an endorsement for Coutu.
Mike Sando: I'm sure the Colts got wise to Forsett when watching preseason film of the Bears. Remember, Forsett had a big game against the Bears in preseason. Indy was the only team in the league to submit a waiver claim on Forsett. This doesn't necessarily mean Forsett is going to stick with the Colts. But he is there now.
Mike Sando: Most injury settlements involve less prominent players. Usually the team will wait for the player to get healthy, then waive the player. If the player doesn't feel he is healthy enough, he can file a grievance. In this case, both parties would most likely want to end the relationship.
Mike Sando: Wow, Marshall Faulk as head coach? Would a Hall of Fame player want to work that hard? I just don't see that as a viable option.
Mike Sando: Making a change in-season means promoting someone from the staff. Al Saunders or Jim Haslett would be the logical candidates. I have no special insight into how long Linehan might last. The organization might not even know. Other factors can come into play to speed or slow the decision-making process.
Mike Sando: The Rams are not exactly a stable franchise. The organization could be sold pending the estate settlement of the late owner. If I'm an established coach, I'm probably not taking that job.
Guest 49er from the Bay Area writes: Hey Mike, How many fans actually went to the 49ers game? How many empty seats were there? What are Seattle's chances to beat the 49ers, Sheridan says 9, USA Sports weekly says 24-20. IF the 49ers go 0 and 2, do we hear Fire Nolan get louder? Finally, Mike, can you please schedule your chats for Friday, or advertise a little better? I had questions, and you didn't say anything until the LAST MINUTE. Please, that's not a good way to run a site as some people sleep past 8am in California. Thank you.
Mike Sando: I can do better on mentioning the chats. This one sneaked up on me a little bit. I'm not yet in a routine of doing them. That will change with time. As for the attendance count, I do not know it. The stands looked pretty full to me. I'm not a big fan of calling for the coach's firing after two games.