Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have a big hole at safety now that Oshiomogho Atogwe has agreed to terms with the Redskins. Thomas: "In the end, Atogwe chose a coach he is familiar with in Jim Haslett, but just as important is the fact that Haslett's system probably is a better match with Atogwe's skills. He didn't have as much freedom to roam the field and maximize his playmaking skills under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, playing more in the box -- like a strong safety would -- and being used more as a blitzer." Craig Dahl, James Butler and Darian Stewart become the Rams' top three safeties minus Atogwe. The team clearly has a need at the position now.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a lockout would hurt the Rams in particular. Miklasz: "Yes, all 32 teams have roster issues that can't be tackled right now. But how many have a second-year QB who must learn a new playbook, get on the same page with a new coordinator and connect with a new wide receiver? Things are awfully quiet at Rams Park. Some NFL teams have spent money this offseason by re-signing their own players or players released by other franchises. But the Rams haven't signed anyone. Just the opposite; they released fullback Mike Karney and made safety and team leader O.J. Atogwe a free agent by declining to pay an optional roster bonus. There's more work to do in St. Louis than most places."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com looks at how a lockout would hurt the 49ers. Maiocco: "There can be no player movement until there is a new CBA in place. Free agency will begin only when there's a labor agreement. The 49ers are prohibited from pursuing trades for a quarterback, such as Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb or Cincinnati's Carson Palmer, until there's a new CBA. It's possible the first opportunity the 49ers -- or any other team -- will have to add players will come April 28-30 during the NFL draft. The 49ers own 10 draft picks." It's looking more like labor talks could avert a lockout.
Sam Good of 49ers.com profiles former 49ers safety Eason Ramson, who has battled through substance abuse and other problems since retiring from football. Good: "The pain started when he was a little kid and was the driving force behind everything Ramson did. From becoming a star athlete in Sacramento, to earning his scholarship to Washington State, to becoming an NFL player, and even his drug addiction. It all stemmed from the pain. Ramson isn’t sure if his father ever loved him; he never heard him say it, and it’s a question that still lingers. If he did love his son, the elder Ramson never showed it. He was a provider – food, clothes, shelter – but that was it. No bonding, no hugs, not even an occasional pat on the back. Instead of fatherly advice, Ramson’s dad told his son, 'You’re never gonna be nothing.' "
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers have incentive to get a labor deal done.
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat has this to say about a lockout in relation to the 49ers: "Consider that seven other teams also have new head coaches, but, unlike Harbaugh, those coaches were NFL head coaches or coordinators last year. In addition, those seven teams all have more stable quarterback situations than San Francisco, which only has journeyman David Carr under contract."
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider checks in with tackle Joe Staley for thoughts on the labor situation.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the recently released Chris Baker, 31, was the oldest of four tight ends on the Seahawks' roster. The team also released quarterback Nate Davis in a move that begs for some explanation. Davis was a project and it was unclear whether he would fit with the Seahawks' offense, but there was no obvious advantage to the timing of his release.
Brian McIntyre of Mac's Football Blog notes that Baker was due to receive a $500,000 bonus on the seventh day of the new league year. That helps explain why the Seahawks released Baker now. Baker finished the 2010 season on injured reserve. Fellow tight ends Cameron Morrah and John Carlson made key contributions in the playoffs.
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle says Matt Hasselbeck will have suitors in free agency.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals players have honored safety Matt Ware with the Ed Block Courage Award after Ware continued playing following a diagnosis showing he has Type I diabetes. Note: "Ware's return to the football field in 2010 was remarkable on multiple fronts. He has overcome Type I Diabetes and arthroscopy on his right knee following the 2008 season. His 2009 season was shortened by a knee injury that ended December 16, 2009, when he sprained his right knee ACL and MCL ligaments. Ware was first diagnosed in March of 2009 with Type I Diabetes. He had suffered from fatigue, an increase in thirst and a 15-pound weight loss during a three-week period. It was during the rehabilitation phase of his knee injury he began to experience the diabetic symptoms that slowed his workouts. His appetite had increased and his thirst mechanism was insatiable. Matt was referred to an endocrinologist for screening."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com lists Arizona players with expiring contracts.
Also from Urban: Larry Fitzgerald discusses the Cardinals' quarterback situation with Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio. Fitzgerald on landing a veteran or drafting a quarterback: "You can see it on both sides. You see veteran guys having success, and then you see the Matt Ryans and guys like that who come right in, Mark Sanchez, guys who can do it. I’m just about winning. We want to have success, and I know my coaches and teammates feel the same way. Whatever the way it is, I am for it."