NFC West: 2012 offseason glance

A look at the St. Louis Rams' offseason to this point ...

What went right: The Rams beat out the Miami Dolphins for coach Jeff Fisher and then hired the first general manager's candidate they interviewed, Les Snead. That seemed like a good way to open the offseason. ... The Rams found a willing trade partner and good value for the second overall choice in the 2012 draft. That was critical for their future once the team quickly determined Sam Bradford would remain the franchise quarterback. ... Cornerback Cortland Finnegan, the player St. Louis targeted most strongly in free agency, signed with the team quickly. ... Adding Pro Bowl center Scott Wells from Green Bay should give the offensive line needed leadership and personality. Wells will also make Bradford's job easier, in theory, by handling protection calls. ... The Rams addressed their weak run defense by adding Kendall Langford in free agency and Michael Brockers in the draft. ... St. Louis went from one of the oldest teams to one of the youngest, the logical way to go when rebuilding.

What went wrong: The NFL suspended newly-hired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for the 2012 season and possibly beyond. The team was counting on Williams to instill the defensive swagger that led Williams astray in New Orleans. ... The Rams emerged from free agency and the draft without clear answers at outside linebacker, a position of obvious need. ... Owner Stan Kroenke has been unable or unwilling to allay fears the team is angling to leverage its way out of its stadium lease. The stadium issue continues to hang over the team, making it tougher, in theory, for fans to buy in fully. ... Moving one home game to London might help the Rams score points with the NFL and in global branding circles, but any coach will tell you eight home games are better than seven. ... Adding an elite offensive playmaker with the sixth overall pick would have been ideal for Bradford, but the Rams didn't see the value.

The bottom line: The Rams had more needs than they could reasonably fill in one offseason. They began to address quite a few of them, however, and they have the draft capital to continue the process over the next two seasons. We'll find out in a hurry how well Snead and the personnel department can draft in the first couple rounds.

Your turn: Any significant omissions here?
A look at the Seattle Seahawks' offseason to this point ...

What went right: The Seahawks signed quarterback Matt Flynn in free agency without paying an exorbitant price. That made it easier to justify using a third-round choice for quarterback Russell Wilson. ... Re-signing Marshawn Lynch before free agency and Red Bryant during free agency was critical. Lynch is the focal point of the offense. His running style became inseparable from the Seahawks' identity on offense. Bryant was the most important defensive player against the run and a leader in the locker room. ... Highly valued offensive line coach Tom Cable returned to the team after some speculation that a college program such as UCLA might consider him as head coach. ... Free-agent defensive tackle Jason Jones chose Seattle over St. Louis at a reasonable price, making it easier for the Seahawks to part with Anthony Hargrove, who subsequently incurred an eight-game suspension. ... The linebacker market was soft enough for Seattle to bring back Leroy Hill without overpaying.

What went wrong: The Seahawks tried and failed to get Peyton Manning's attention this offseason. ... Tight end John Carlson was determined to leave in free agency and able to find a lucrative contract in Minnesota. That combination made keeping Carlson unrealistic for Seattle, creating a need where none existed previously. Seattle might be left to wait out former Vikings starter Visanthe Shiancoe in free agency as the team seeks a viable partner for Zach Miller in its two-tight end personnel groupings. ... Middle linebacker David Hawthorne wasn't willing to return for the contract Seattle was offering, putting more immediate pressure on the team to draft and develop a player at the position. ... The injury rehabs for tackle James Carpenter and cornerback Walter Thurmond raise questions about whether either will be ready for the upcoming season. ... Steve Hutchinson found a richer deal in Tennessee after initially appearing likely to sign with Seattle on the relative cheap.

The bottom line: The quarterback situation is different. There is more promise at the position. The status quo wasn't very appealing. From that standpoint, the offseason represented a step forward.

Your turn: Any significant omissions here?
A look at the Arizona Cardinals' offseason to this point ...

What went right: The Cardinals struck a long-term contract agreement with franchise player Calais Campbell, solidifying their defensive line. ... First-round draft choice Michael Floyd promised to give the Cardinals a big, talented weapon opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Floyd's addition makes Arizona four players deep at wide receiver. The team expects Andre Roberts to become more productive from the slot as a result. ... The Cardinals arguably have better cornerback depth than they've had in years, particularly if rookie Jamell Fleming builds upon an impressive rookie camp debut. ... Running back Ryan Williams has beat expectations in his recovery from a knee injury that could have been career-threatening. The team thinks he can contribute significantly this season, one reason the Cardinals did not address the position much this offseason. ... Keeping assistant John McNulty away from Tampa bay and converting him to quarterbacks coach has the potential to benefit Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. ... The Cardinals finally have young prospects for the offensive line after selecting three in the draft.

What went wrong: Arizona made landing Peyton Manning a top priority, involving in the pursuit everyone from ownership to Fitzgerald. The effort was admirable, but the results were disappointing and the fallback -- paying another $7 million to retain Kolb -- was unsatisfying. ... The Miami Dolphins paid relatively big money to sign cornerback Richard Marshall away from the Cardinals. Marshall had been Arizona's defensive MVP, according to coordinator Ray Horton. The resources Arizona used to replace Marshall might have been directed elsewhere, as the Cardinals navigated the offseason with relatively scarce resources (little salary-cap space, no second-round draft choice). ... The search for a veteran offensive tackle led nowhere after Demetress Bell signed with Philadelphia. ... Arizona could be over-reliant on young outside linebackers Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield after failing to upgrade that position. Clark Haggans' expected return would help.

The bottom line: The Cardinals need better play from their quarterbacks. Everything else is details.

Your turn: Any significant omissions here?
A look at the San Francisco 49ers' offseason to this point ...

What went right: The 49ers kept together one of the NFL's best defenses by re-signing Ahmad Brooks and Carlos Rogers, and by naming Dashon Goldson their franchise player. ... The coaching staff also returns pretty much intact, a relief after the team finished 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman's name did come up in relation to the Penn State opening. Reports suggested special-teams coordinator Brad Seely could become a candidate for the head coaching job in Indianapolis. ... Alex Smith did not leave in free agency despite visiting the Miami Dolphins. ... The 49ers secured funding for their new stadium and broke ground on it last month, a huge step forward for the organization. ... The team attempted to address perceived shortcomings at receiver and on offense in general. ... Bringing back Ted Ginn Jr. was an underrated move given the value he can provide in the return game.

What went wrong: The 49ers could not keep secret their interest in Peyton Manning, creating an awkward moment as Smith considered his options in free agency. ... Manning signed with Denver. Adding Manning to the 49ers arguably would have made San Francisco the Super Bowl favorite from the NFC. ... The team did not resolve its situation at right guard in a decisive manner. ... The Washington Redskins paid a premium for free-agent receiver Josh Morgan, a player the 49ers ideally would have retained. ... Blake Costanzo, a tone-setter on special teams, left in free agency. The team got older by adding Rock Cartwright, 32, to fill some of the special-teams void.

The bottom line: The positives outweigh the negatives. The team used free agency to address immediate needs at low cost (Randy Moss, Mario Manningham) while using the draft to build for the longer term (A.J. Jenkins, LaMichael James, Joe Looney). Adding Manning would have been an unexpected bonus. The 49ers' offseason never hinged on making that move. The 49ers essentially stayed the course following a 13-3 season. That was the goal. No complaints here.

Your turn: Any significant omissions here?

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