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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Around the NFC West: 49ers' WR options

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The San Francisco 49ers signed David Akers, Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner, Jonathan Goodwin and Braylon Edwards as unrestricted free agents from other teams last offseason.

None signed for more than $4.25 million per season.

That track record could remove the 49ers from serious consideration for the big-name wide receivers scheduled to hit the market next month. Those options could be diminishing anyway.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Kansas City's decision to sign former Oakland Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt could indicate the Chiefs will use the franchise tag on receiver Dwayne Bowe, winnowing down the list of free agents San Francisco might consider this offseason. Maiocco: "Bowe is another significant wide receiver who will probably not be on the open market for the 49ers to explore. And without Bowe available, it might drive up the prices for the other receivers, most notably Vincent Jackson. Also, it could make it more difficult for any team wishing to make a run at restricted free agent Mike Wallace, as his price could be rising, too." Noted: I would not expect the 49ers to sign a high-profile wideout from another team to a lucrative deal. Last offseason, the 49ers bowed out of the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes and came out ahead by signing Rogers to a one-year deal. That course seems likely at receiver as well.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Williams' rehab from a broken arm is progressing slowly and steadily, with Williams recently passing the 100-pound mark in the bench press, a weight just about anyone in relatively good health could press without much trouble. Urban: "Williams actually believes his weight has been one of the easiest things to handle since he got hurt that miserable day against the 49ers, when the helmet of teammate Stewart Bradley slammed into his arm, shattering the bone to the point he needed two rods to be inserted. His foray into the bench press has been important, a 'sign of encouragement' for a man who normally benches more than 300 pounds. Right after the surgery, Williams said he was told he could only pick up things like a bottle of water, 'and only the 16-ounce bottle, not the 20-ounce one.' Living everyday life and doing things like getting dressed was difficult."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says former St. Louis Cardinals running back Stump Mitchell interviewed to coach running backs on Jeff Fisher's staff amid questions about whether Mitchell will return as head coach at Southern University. Thomas: "A versatile player, Mitchell was an accomplished receiver, punt returner and kickoff returner, finishing with nearly 11,000 all-purpose yards and scoring 42 touchdowns. He even threw a 15-yard TD pass in 1986. At the conclusion of his playing career, Mitchell was a head coach at the high school and college (Morgan State) levels in the 1990s before joining Mike Holmgren's inaugural staff in Seattle as running backs coach in 1999. He was with the Seahawks for eight seasons then joined Washington's staff as assistant head coach/running backs coach in 2008."

The Associated Press says former Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson could become a salary-cap casualty for Minnesota as the Vikings implement a youth movement. Hutchinson says he played "great" last season after an injury rehabilitation slowed him in 2010. Hutchinson has one year remaining on the controversial contract he signed with Minnesota after the Seahawks named him their transition player following their 2005 Super Bowl season. Noted: Hutchinson would upgrade Seattle's line if he returned to the Seahawks, but with Robert Gallery under contract and familiar with the team's blocking scheme, the team does not have an immediate need at left guard. Second-year right tackle James Carpenter is a candidate to play there after Seattle re-signed Breno Giacomini amid expectations Giacomini will remain at right tackle.

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle suggests recent comments from Seahawks general manager John Schneider could indicate an unwillingness to draft Ryan Tannehill or another quarterback with the 11th or 12th overall choice. ESPN's Todd McShay had this to say about Tannehill: "He still has a lot to learn in an offense that struggled this year at times and was very inconsistent in terms of the supporting cast, but I think with his athleticism, his arm, his ability to make throws on the run and create after the initial play breaks down, there's a lot of potential there. And certainly if you have time to develop him properly he has a chance to be a really good starter in the NFL."