NFC West: Barry Cofield

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the San Francisco 49ers could be without Michael Crabtree for four to six weeks while the receiver recovers from a foot injury suffered during player-organized workouts. Crabtree missed his rookie training camp during a contract dispute. An injury sidelined him quite a bit last summer. The lockout and this latest injury threaten to keep Crabtree off the field for yet another training camp, just as the 49ers are scrambling to install a new offense. So much for developing a rapport with the 49ers' quarterbacks. Barrows: "The exact nature of the injury is not known. The 49ers will place Crabtree on the physically-unable-to-perform list to begin training camp. Also to be placed on the PUP list are rookie fullback Bruce Miller and wideout Dominique Zeigler, who is recovering from an ACL tear suffered last year. Miller's injury is not known at this point."

Matt Maiocco of says this has been a rough week for the 49ers. Maiocco: "I spoke with a source close to Nnamdi Asomugha early Friday and he said that Asomugha was still going through his options. There are some reports that the Cowboys are getting involved, too. If the 49ers do not sign Asomugha, they will be forced to turn to Plan B, which could include Richard Marshall (Carolina), Chris Carr (Baltimore), Carlos Rogers (Washington) and Antonio Cromartie (Jets). Also, if Clements remains on the market, the 49ers could bring him back. And, remember, the 49ers weren't completely satisfied with the play last season of the other starting cornerback, Shawntae Spencer, either."

Also from Maiocco: Joe Nedney plans to retire.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Crabtree's injury explains why the 49ers considered adding Chad Ochocinco.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News sees the 49ers as a fallback for Asomugha, with the Jets as front-runners.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle says Colin Kaepernick is eager for camp.

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle has advice for Charlie Whitehurst heading into Seahawks camp. Huard: "Whitehurst has a longer delivery which can be harder to repeat and cause inaccuracy when a pocket collapses on top of him. He can spin it and throw a beautiful deep ball, but to gain the trust of his coaches and his huddle he will have to refine his ball placement, critical in the timing/West Coast system Darrell Bevell is installing."

Clare Farnsworth of offers highlights from Seahawks practice, including one about Red Bryant being back on the field following knee surgery.

Also from Farnsworth: Marcus Trufant is the longest-tenured current Seahawk. Farnsworth: "In fact, 33 of the players on the practice field Thursday were going through their initial workouts with the team."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times provides a Whitehurst interview transcript. On the offense: "Well, it's definitely new. We're just diving in the playbook now, but I like some of the things we do. We're going to try and run the football here, there's no doubt about it. We will be able to do that, play-action some drop-back, all that stuff. I think we're going to throw it short, throw it long, do a bunch of stuff. I'm confident that I can fit anything he asks me to do."

Also from O'Neil: a camp preview.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with receiver Mike Williams for thoughts on Whitehurst. Williams: "Just from last night when Coach [Tom] Cable got up and talked about the attitude he wanted from the offense, and I’m sure the same thing was said over in the other room. It was good to get out here today. Guys were running around, and you could tell guys been working. You could tell Charlie’s been working."

Also from Williams: Seattle receiver Ben Obomanu grew up with Tarvaris Jackson in Alabama. Obomanu: "We shared some of the same friends when he transferred to Alabama State. A lot of my good friends played on his team and were classmates of his. So he’s a good friend of mine, so I’m looking forward to him coming in and seeing what he can do in this offense."

Liz Mathews of 710ESPN Seattle says new Seahawks coordinator Darrell Bevell could be a better fit for the team's younger players. Williams: "We’re going to win new guys over. Different personalities, a lot different than coach [Jeremy] Bates -- with all respect to coach Bates -- it's just a different approach with coach [Darrell] Bevell and his staff. With the young group we have, they like this group better I can already tell. We’ll all learn it. We’ll make mistakes together and then minimize those mistakes as much as we can. But everyone is learning and that’s the exciting part."

Mike Salk of 710ESPN Seattle offers thoughts on the Seahawks, including this one: "Yes, the team filled major holes along their offensive line (Robert Gallery and maybe James Carpenter etc.), wide receiver (Sidney Rice) and defensive line (Alan Branch provides depth). But they still have holes in their defensive backfield and at linebacker. And oh yeah, they need a quarterback!"

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at how the Cardinals are addressing their offensive line.

Also from Somers: a quick look at the Cardinals' activity to this point in the week.

More from Somers: questions and answers on Kevin Kolb's acquisition. Somers: "They clearly are going all in on Kolb. As former Packers' executive Andrew Brandt, now with ESPN, pointed out via twitter, it's a similar deal to the one Aaron Rodgers' signed in 2008. Like Kolb, Rodgers had seven starts when he signed it. The Packers, however, had watched Rodgers in practice and he knew their system. The Cardinals don't have that advantage."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are betting big on Kolb. Boivin: "Management will take heat for spending this much, when in reality, it should be applauded. An organization that for decades was dinged for being cheap was anything but on Thursday. Team president Michael Bidwill supported the quest to fill the team's biggest hole and pulled out his checkbook to do so. If you want to find fault, it is with the team for putting itself in this situation. It shouldn't have been so desperate for a quarterback."

Darren Urban of has this to say about trading Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: "Losing Rodgers-Cromartie does weaken what looked like a very strong cornerback corps. First-round pick Patrick Peterson seems a lock to start now with Greg Toler; asked if the Cardinals would be acquiring a cornerback Whisenhunt just referenced the young corners already on the roster."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have been mostly quiet in free agency so far. Thomas: "The Rams have expressed some interest in Brandon Mebane of Seattle, but aren't considered a frontrunner for his services. Barry Cofield of the New York Giants seemed like a no-brainer at one time because of his past association with coach Steve Spagnuolo, but Cofield agreed to a contract in Washington worth a reported $36 million over six years."

Also from Thomas: Four Rams draft choices agree to terms.

More from Thomas: He counts Seattle among the teams with interest in Rams tight end Daniel Fells.

Nick Wagoner of says Josh McDaniels and Sam Bradford are working hard to prepare for camp.

Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis looks at the curious case of Rams rookie Robert Quinn, who might not have an agent.
The St. Louis Rams' four-year agreement with Philadelphia Eagles safety Quintin Mikell gives them a player they know well.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo coached the Eagles' defensive backs from 2004-06, when Mikell was still establishing himself in the NFL. Mikell, 30, gives the Rams a proven safety after watching longtime starter Oshiomogho Atogwe sign with the Washington Redskins.

Mikell has started all but one game over the last three seasons. The Rams, strong in rushing the passer last season, could stand to upgrade their run defense this offseason. Mikell is strong against the run and an aggressive tackler, according to an Insider report from Scouts Inc.

The Rams got strong play from Fred Robbins and James Laurinaitis up the middle last season, but their run defense was not particularly strong overall. Darren McFadden (145), Michael Turner (131) and Jamaal Charles (126) topped 100 yards rushing against them. The Rams allowed 113 yards rushing per game, which ranked 17th, and 4.48 yards per carry (22nd).

The Rams still need help on defense at outside linebacker and defensive tackle. New Orleans Saints veteran linebacker Scott Shanle, 31, has indicated a visit to the Rams could be an option. Barry Cofield, who played for Spagnuolo when both were with the New York Giants, would make sense as an option on the defensive line.

NFC West free-agency breakdown

July, 25, 2011
NFC: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South Unrestricted FAs

A look at the free-agent priorities for each NFC West team:

Arizona Cardinals

1. Sign or acquire a quarterback: You've heard all the potential names by now. Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer, Marc Bulger and Matt Hasselbeck all could be available. The same goes for Donovan McNabb, but the Cardinals aren't interested in him. How much interest they have in the others remains less clear. They liked Bulger as an option last offseason, but the timing wasn't right. Kolb reportedly stands atop their wish list now, although price is a consideration. One way or another, the Cardinals will go into the 2011 season with fresh veteran blood at the position.

2. Firm up the offensive line: Left guard Alan Faneca retired. Center Lyle Sendlein and right guard Deuce Lutui have expiring contracts. Brandon Keith showed promise at right tackle, but he's coming off knee surgery. A better quarterback would help take pressure off the line, but Arizona isn't going to find another Kurt Warner. The team has loaded up at running back, adding second-round choice Ryan Williams to an already crowded backfield. The Cardinals need to re-sign Sendlein. Letting Lutui depart would put them in the market for veteran help. I've looked through the free-agent lists for guards already familiar to the Cardinals. Pittsburgh's Trai Essex, a starter in 21 games over the past two seasons, played for Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm with the Steelers.

3. Work toward a deal with Larry Fitzgerald: Ideally, the Cardinals would have landed their next quarterback in March, then spent the offseason working toward extending Fitzgerald's contract beyond the 2011 season. Fitzgerald is an NFL rarity. He's in line to sign three massive contracts during the course of his career. He signed the first one as the third player chosen in the 2004 draft. That deal ultimately became untenable for the Cardinals, giving Fitzgerald the leverage to get $40 million over four seasons, plus assurances Arizona would not name him its franchise player once the deal ended. Fitzgerald, still only 27, will cash in at least one more time.

Top five free agents: Sendlein, Lutui, receiver Steve Breaston, defensive lineman Alan Branch, defensive lineman Gabe Watson.

St. Louis Rams

1. Upgrade the run defense: The Rams could use another defensive tackle to take their promising defensive front to another level. Adding Fred Robbins in free agency last offseason was a good start. Barry Cofield (New York Giants) and Brandon Mebane (Seattle Seahawks) are scheduled to become free agents this offseason. Cofield played for Steve Spagnuolo and would transition to the Rams' system easily. The Rams could use an in-the-box safety, something they addressed later in the draft. They need to find one and possibly two starting outside linebackers. Chase Blackburn projects more as a backup, but he was also with Spagnuolo on the Giants. Blackburn has played all three linebacker positions. Minnesota's Ben Leber would make sense as well. Paul Ferraro, the Rams' linebackers coach, was with the Vikings previously.

2. Help out Steven Jackson: Adding a third-down back such as Darren Sproles would lighten the load for Jackson, who has played through several injuries in recent seasons. Jackson has 654 rushing attempts over the past two seasons despite missing one game and playing for a team that has often trailed its opponents. Only Chris Johnson (674) has more carries during that span. Sproles isn't the only viable potential option. Jason Snelling, DeAngelo Williams and Reggie Bush also could become available. Upgrading at right guard would also help out Jackson.

3. Figure out the situation at receiver. It's questionable whether the Rams will find any clear upgrades at receiver in free agency. That could lead them to stand pat at the position. They have quantity, but not enough high-end quality. Adding more quantity wouldn't solve much. Plaxico Burress gets mentioned as an option for his ties to Spagnuolo, but he's been out of the game and might not offer much. The Rams thought about claiming Randy Moss off waivers last season. Moss could make more sense for the Rams now that Josh McDaniels is offensive coordinator. He worked well with Moss in New England. Sidney Rice could also have appeal.

Top five free agents: receiver Mark Clayton, guard Adam Goldberg, defensive tackle Clifton Ryan and tight end Daniel Fells.

Seattle Seahawks

1. Sign or acquire a quarterback: Bringing back Hasselbeck remains an option. The team expressed interest in Kolb last offseason. The team could also add a lower-profile veteran to the mix -- perhaps a Matt Leinart type -- for an open competition with Charlie Whitehurst. That would not excite Seattle fans, of course. Getting a young quarterback to build around would be ideal, but the Seahawks are adamant they will not force the situation in the absence of viable options. They weren't going to do it in the draft, when they passed over Andy Dalton for tackle James Carpenter. They probably aren't going to do it in free agency, either.

2. Solidify the offensive line: Tom Cable's addition as assistant head coach/offensive line puts the Seahawks in position to court Oakland Raiders guard Robert Gallery in free agency. Gallery has said he's not returning to the Raiders. Seattle has drafted its starting tackles, starting center and starting right guard in the past few seasons. Max Unger and Russell Okung need better luck with injuries. Okung would also benefit from an experienced presence next to him at left guard. Gallery qualifies as such and he would fit the zone system Cable wants to run. Green Bay's Daryn Colledge could be available, too. He has ties to Seahawks general manager John Schneider. Former Seattle starters Chris Spencer, Sean Locklear, Chester Pitts and Ray Willis might not return.

3. Plug holes on defense. Mebane appears headed for free agency. The Seahawks want him back, but how badly? Mebane could fit better in a purer 4-3 defense. He also might command more money elsewhere. Injuries along the defensive front could also affect the Seahawks' needs. Red Bryant is coming off season-ending knee surgery. Injuries affected Colin Cole and Chris Clemons last season as well. Cornerback is another area to monitor once free agency opens. Does Marcus Trufant still fit at his relatively high price? The Cincinnati Bengals' Johnathan Joseph and other free-agent corners could appeal.

Top five free agents: Hasselbeck, Mebane, Locklear, linebacker Will Herring, defensive end Raheem Brock.

San Francisco 49ers

1. Re-sign Alex Smith: Smith and the 49ers renewed their vows informally this offseason. The official ceremony should come when free agency opens and Smith signs with the team. Smith's name continues to show up on free-agent lists in the interim, but there's no chance he'll sign elsewhere. He's given his word to the 49ers. The team, in turn, has entrusted him with its playbook. Smith even took the lead in teaching what he knew of the offense to teammates. Re-signing Smith takes pressure off rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick. With a new coaching staff, a young prospect in Kaepernick and no access to players during a lockout, this wasn't the year for San Francisco to make a bold play for a veteran passer from another team.

2. Make a decision on Aubrayo Franklin. The 49ers' plans on defense remain a bit mysterious. Coordinator Vic Fangio did not distribute playbooks to players. The team's needs could change based on whether Franklin, a solid nose tackle, leaves in free agency. Franklin's status as a franchise player last season raised the stakes for a new contract. What does Fangio think of him? What specifically does Fangio want from his defensive linemen? How much will Fangio change to suit the 49ers' personnel? How much new personnel might he want? General manager Trent Baalke said the 49ers will not be aggressive in free agency. The team has shown restraint on that front in recent seasons. Losing Franklin would hurt.

3. Figure out the secondary: The pass defense was problematic last season. Personnel changes in the secondary are on the way. Veteran cornerback Nate Clements stands to earn more than $7 million in base salary in 2011. That price appears prohibitive. The team could release Clements or find a way to keep him at a lower rate. Free safety Dashon Goldson does not have a contract for 2011. How much is he worth? Baltimore's Chris Carr is one free-agent cornerback with ties to the 49ers' staff. He and Fangio were together in Baltimore.

Top five free agents: Smith, Franklin, outside linebacker Manny Lawson, center David Baas, linebacker Takeo Spikes.
Joe from Phoenix raises concerns about the St. Louis Rams' run defense. He sees other NFC West teams beefing up their ground games while the Rams appear largely unchanged on defense when it comes to stopping the run.

Mike Sando: The free-agent signing period was huge for the Rams in this department last offseason. It could be again. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins' addition from the New York Giants in free agency stands as one of the best moves in the division last offseason. The Rams could have a shot at another Giants lineman if Barry Cofield hits the market.

Cofield has missed only one game in five NFL seasons. He realizes his future with the Giants could be in question after the team used a second-round draft choice for Marvin Austin. Cofield wants a long-term deal. He is 27 years old and would presumably work well with Robbins and fit well within the Rams' defensive scheme. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo was the Giants' defensive coordinator for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Cofield, who entered the NFL in 2006, started 30 games during that two-year span.

The question would be whether the Rams would value Cofield enough to give him what the Giants might not be willing to give him. The Rams' need for a defensive tackle is greater than the Giants' need for one, so that could come into play.

The Scouts Inc. report on Cofield says he "plays with good leverage in the run game" but isn't a dynamic player with any one outstanding attribute.

The Rams could have gone after a defensive tackle in the first round of the draft, but pass-rush help is harder to find. It's tough to fault the team for selecting Robert Quinn in the first round based on the scouting reports.

Shoring up the run defense has to be a priority this offseason.

The Rams allowed 4.48 yards per rushing attempt last season, 22nd in the NFL. They ranked 17th in rushing yards allowed per game. Darren McFadden (145), Michael Turner (131) and Jamaal Charles (126) topped 100 yards rushing against the Rams last season. The Rams allowed 133.6 yards rushing per game in September, 76.2 in October, 118.3 in November and 134.6 after that point.

St. Louis faces Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Ray Rice, Peyton Hillis, Rashard Mendenhall and Cedric Benson outside the division in 2011, plus two NFC West dates with Frank Gore. The Cardinals and Seahawks have also taken steps to improve their ground games. It is Seattle's No. 1 priority this offseason.

The chart ranks rushing totals for the Rams' 2010 opponents in descending order.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides one more piece of evidence affirming Alex Smith's intentions to re-sign with the San Francisco 49ers. Barrows: "Smith, who is an unrestricted free agent, spoke publicly for the first time since the 2010 season ended. He said he didn't want to be quoted but said the thrust of his comments could be relayed. The main thrust -- that there's a good likelihood that he will return to the 49ers for a seventh season." The 49ers have already met with him, given him a playbook and declared Smith part of the team. It's become a foregone conclusion Smith will return for 2011. As coach Jim Harbaugh told NFL Network in his latest comments on the matter: "We're well-documented on the record that we very much want Alex to be a 49er next year. And he really is a 49er. In my mind, and hopefully in his mind, he is a 49er and we look forward to him competing for that starting quarterback position next year."

Also from Barrows: Is Kendall Hunter the next Brian Westbrook?

Mindi Bach of has this to say about Smith's likely return: "When he met with new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in January, the two men hit it off immediately, Smith said. He said he liked the idea of playing for an offensive-minded head coach who played quarterback in the NFL. Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary, 49ers head coaches since 2005, both came from defensive backgrounds."

Matt Maiocco of explains why defensive backs Colin Jones and Curtis Holcomb appealed to the 49ers in the draft. General manager Trent Baalke on Jones: "When you look at the measurable, he's 6-foot, 210 pounds, runs low 4.4s and you can see it on film. He loves special teams. You look at the TCU film, covering kicks, covering punts, he's the first one down and he's not afraid of contact."

Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis looks at potential free-agent defensive tackles for the Rams to consider this offseason. The Giants' Barry Cofield and the Seahawks' Brandon Mebane made the list. Softli on Cofield: "Cofield has developed into one of the league's best interior defensive linemen. He has explosive use of his hands with quickness out of stance and plays behind pads. Good run stopper with football instincts and a nose for the ball. Solid lateral movement over and around trash, a dominant interior lineman with some nasty in his play. Pass rush is adequate, but reacts well to screens and hustles to second level."

Mike Baldwin of the Oklahoman says former Rams and Steelers defensive back Clendon Thomas will be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. Thomas picked off three passes for the Rams in 1961, then had 15 interceptions for the Steelers over a two-year period. Baldwin: "A second-round selection, Thomas played 11 years in the NFL with the Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers. Playing primarily defensive back, because of his size and speed, Thomas was considered one of the top athletes in the league. Selected to the 1963 Pro Bowl and a three-time second team All-Pro selection, Thomas played in 137 professional games. He compiled 27 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. Thomas, 75, is a member of the Steelers Legends team. He also intercepted a Paul Hornung pass and returned it for a touchdown."

Clare Farnsworth of says Bobby Engram was "humbled" to earn a spot as the third receiver on the Seahawks' 35th anniversary team, determined by online fan balloting. Farnsworth: "Finishing second to Steve Largent (5,004 votes) was Brian Blades (3,487), and coming in third -- as the slot receiver -- was Bobby Engram (2,254). Darrell Jackson finished fourth (1,388), followed by Joey Galloway (941), Daryl Turner (211) and Koren Robinson (95)."

Also from Farnsworth: Engram's former teammates reflect on the receiver's contributions. Lofa Tatupu: "His understanding of what the route needs or what the coaches expect out of it, the way he could read coverages, his understanding of route concepts and what the defense was doing -- it was all second to none. You put a nickel or a corner on him on the inside, he’d eat him up all day. Bobby was a professional in every sense of the word. He was an amazing guy – a guy you love to have in the locker room, a leader."

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle asks whether Seattle could be in line to host a Super Bowl.'s John Clayton put the chances at "virtually none" thanks to a combination of factors including hotel rooms, weather and stadium size.

Darren Urban of shows off a sensational "Grand Cannon" poster featuring then-Cardinals quarterback Neil Lomax standing before a Grand Canyon backdrop.

Pat Kirwan of thinks Arizona would be a good fit for Carson Palmer if the Bengals decided to trade the disgruntled quarterback. Kirwan: "There’s no denying his talent and experience. If you’re looking to duplicate some of the things you did with Kurt Warner, he’s your best choice." Palmer would instantly make the Cardinals a leading candidate to win the NFC West, in my view. His addition would energize the team and revive the offense, particularly with three capable running backs to lessen the load.
Julian from the Bay Area thinks the 49ers targeted mostly developmental players in their draft at least in part because so many of their coaches are coming directly from the college level. He likes the Colin Kaepernick selection, but thinks it's impractical at the NFL level to select too many other players facing significant transitions.

Mike Sando: That's a valid consideration whether or not it applies in this case. Let's put Kaepernick off to the side. As coach Jim Harbaugh noted, just about all quarterbacks are developmental players. Let's also set aside the players San Francisco selected late in the draft. Sixth- and seventh-round picks generally aren't going to contribute quickly anyway.

We're then left with first-round choice Aldon Smith, third-rounder Chris Culliver, fourth-rounder Kendall Hunter and possibly fifth-rounder Daniel Kilgore. Hunter's transition will be typical. He was a running back in college and will be one in the NFL. Kilgore will convert from college tackle to NFL guard, and there's no expectation to play quickly.

That leaves us with Smith and Culliver.

The 49ers expect Smith to play quickly, but they realize he'll evolve over time. He's only 20 years old. He played defensive end in college and will have to convert to outside linebacker, although I think the 49ers will use him elsewhere as well.

General manager Trent Baalke said there would be a learning curve, but nothing extreme.

"We're not expecting for him to come in here and be a superstar from Day 1," Baalke told reporters during the draft. "It's hard to find a guy to come in to play the 3-4 outside linebacker position from the collegiate level that is game-ready, simply because there aren’t many 3-4 defenses played at the [college] level."

Culliver has played safety and cornerback. The 49ers think he can play corner in the NFL. He will likely be part of the rotation.

This team is taking a longer-range view with this draft. That's natural. Harbaugh is in his first year as a head coach. He's building for the long haul, not just for 2011. This is a transition year given the quarterback situation.

Dan from parts unknown wonders whether the Seahawks would have selected Ryan Mallett in the third round, if available. New England drafted Mallett one spot before Seattle selected guard John Moffitt.

Mike Sando: I don't think so. Mallett came with baggage. General manager John Schneider said the Seahawks weren't prepared to add riskier picks in this draft, given the state of the locker room. I also think Mallett's lack of mobility made him a less-than-ideal fit. Seattle likes its quarterbacks to move well enough to facilitate bootlegs.

Norm from Peoria, Ariz., wonders whether or not one team has produced the top offensive and defensive rookies in the same year, and whether or not Arizona has a good chance in 2011 with Patrick Peterson and Ryan Williams.

Mike Sando: Looks like some optimism has returned to the desert. The Detroit Lions claimed both awards in 1967 with running back Mel Farr and cornerback Lem Barney. Peterson has a decent chance for the Cardinals, although no defensive back has won the award since Charles Woodson in 1998. Williams is walking into a crowded backfield. I question whether or not he'll get enough carries to win the award.

Bill from Clearwater, Fla., likes the Rams' draft and wonders whether or not the team would consider signing defensive tackle Barry Cofield from the Giants in free agency. He thinks reuniting Cofield and Fred Robbins could work well on a line featuring Chris Long, James Hall and Robert Quinn.

Mike Sando: That makes a lot of sense. Cofield has five seasons in the NFL, however, and the standard for unrestricted free agency could be six seasons. It's tough to know for sure, but conventional wisdom says lifting the lockout in the absence of a new labor agreement would lead the NFL to impose the rules that were in effect for 2010. In that scenario, Cofield would qualify as only a restricted free agent, making it tough for the Rams to sign him.