Thursday, March 22, 2012
Around the NFC West: Mike Wallace's price
By Mike Sando
A first-round draft choice isn't the only asking price for teams interested in Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent Mike Wallace.
Wallace, arguably the most formidable deep threat in the NFL, will command a fat contract as well.
Matt Barrows of the Sacrament Bee says the San Francisco 49ers checked into Wallace, only to realize the receiver wanted a contract more lucrative than the one Larry Fitzgerald signed. Barrows: "Combine that with the first-round pick any team that signs Wallace to an offer sheet would lose if the Steelers didn't match the offer, and you start to understand why we've heard so little about Wallace in the last week and a half. That, of course, could change. Teams have another month to sign restricted free agents. But at that price, the 49ers aren't interested, and it's hard to imagine the Patriots, Bengals and Ravens paying that either." Noted: Restricted free agency has always been a mirage. It will remain one, largely, even though the price tag has come down now that the most expensive tender does not include a third-round choice on top of a first-rounder. Teams don't like giving up draft choices for the right to overpay.
Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee isn't buying Alex Smith's contention that there were no hard feelings when the 49ers pursued Peyton Manning. Voisin: "There isn't an athlete in pro sports who wouldn't be seething, wounded and increasingly distrustful of his bosses. Those chummy Smith-49ers family ties have been severely strained." Noted: The key variable is whether the 49ers were honest and forthright with Smith during the process.
Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News says Smith's coping ability serves him well. Purdy: "Will Smith be affected by Harbaugh's desire to seek a better quarterback alternative this offseason? Answer: Can't see why. Smith's mental toughness might have been an issue his first few seasons in the league, but his grittiness should never be questioned after that playoff performance against a New Orleans Saints team that, we now know, was just as concerned with maiming quarterbacks as stopping them."
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers had to re-sign Smith after missing out on Manning.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com updates 49ers signings.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams can still install Gregg Williams' defense even without the indefinitely suspended Williams. Miklasz: "The Rams may have not known about the New Orleans bounties -- but they knew Williams was no angel. He is who they thought he was. To fire Williams now would be a phony, hypocrisy-filled move. Why would the Rams bring Williams back if Roger Goodell reinstates him? I can think of a few reasons. The Fisher-Williams friendship is a factor. Williams has been a successful coordinator who cultivates the kind of defensive mindset that Fisher wants. That's also a factor. I'm also assuming Fisher has empathy, figuring that Williams deserves a second chance if Williams cooperates with the league, helps the league educate players on this serious issue and convinces the league that he's a reformed coach." Noted: The question I have is whether Williams can ever again coach credibly in the NFL, or whether the unapologetic brashness that made him appealing can survive these sanctions.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Rams sources as downplaying any interest in Tim Tebow.
Also from Thomas: a look at positions where the Rams have yet to address needs in free agency.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com looks at how the NFL's punishment against Williams and the New Orleans Saints affects Arizona. Urban: "To begin with, the Cardinals will be the first team to play the Saints, since the teams will match up Aug. 5 in the Hall of Fame game to kick off the preseason. Wonder what the talking points will be during that broadcast? You wonder if the Cards are just going to be in the background, because it’s hard to see the Saints’ storylines not dominating. ... The Saints lose second-round picks this year and next. That’ll move up the Cards’ third-round pick a slot sooner. We’ll see what it means in 2013."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle quotes Seahawks general manager John Schneider on why free-agent defensive tackle Jason Jones was eager to sign with Seattle. Schneider: "He saw what Chris Clemons has done and what Raheem [Brock] has done and Dexter [Davis] in his first year. So to be able to come in here and be a situational interior pass-rusher -- which we've really been lacking over the last several years -- to come in here and be able to jump off the ball, really that noise factor was a big deal for him. We think he's got a big upside, and he thinks he's got a big upside as well, so he's looking at this as a proving ground. And again I think it's a credit to the 12th Man, because he saw this is a stadium he could come into and be incredibly effective."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says free-agent defensive end Dave Tollefson visited the Seahawks.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com notes that Marshawn Lynch will represent Seattle in the Madden cover contest.