NFC West: Jason Webster
They started with what seemed like a promising hand. They placed a significant amount of chips toward the center and stuck it out even when the hand appeared less promising. They finally realized there was little sense in folding based on how much they had already invested and how little more they stood to lose.
Quarterback Alex Smith is that once-promising hand. There's little sense in folding at this point. If anything, the odds for success improved after Smith finished last season with 18 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions playing basically half the season.
But what if the 49ers could ditch this hand in favor of a more proven one? What if the price were not prohibitive? What if they could acquire Donovan McNabb from the Eagles for, say, a second-round choice in the 2010 draft?
The 49ers already have two first-round choices. They could draft the offensive tackle they need and still get a potential starter at another position. The Eagles already have an extra third-round choice. An additional second-rounder would leave them with five choices in the first three rounds, tied with the Browns for the most in the league.
Let's look at this deal from an NFC West perspective. Would the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams rather face the 49ers with McNabb or the 49ers with Smith and whichever player San Francisco drafted in the second round? I think they'd rather take their chances with Smith and the 2010 second-rounder.
Take a look at the last 10 players the 49ers have drafted in the second round: Chilo Rachal, David Baas, Justin Smiley, Shawntae Spencer, Anthony Adams, Jamie Winborn, John Engelberger, Jason Webster, Jeremy Newberry and Marc Edwards.
Some became good players. None could affect games the way good quarterbacks affect games.
Some Eagles fans are tired of McNabb. They think Philadelphia has gotten as far as McNabb can take them. They're ready for a change. The 49ers can have no such complaints. They haven't been a playoff team since 2002. They would gladly "settle" for multiple playoff appearances and a quarterback with a 92-49-1 (.651) regular-season starting record, according to Pro Football Reference.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Seahawks head to Buffalo for a [dreaded] 10 a.m. PT kickoff Sunday. Feel free to pick up a copy of the Bills' 25-category roided-out roster.
The Bills are the sixth-youngest team in the league, averaging 26.7 years old. Only six of their players are 30 or older, including zero offensive starters. Five quick notes on Buffalo:
- Quarterback Trent Edwards has returned from a thigh bruise that limited him to 16 pass attempts during the exhibition season. Edwards completed 10 of those passes, two for touchdowns, on his way to a 125.5 rating in the fake games.
- Bill left tackle Jason Peters continues to hold out for a new contract. Right tackle Langston Walker starts in Peters' place despite an injured left forearm.
- Kirk Chambers, the new right tackle, made his first NFL start in the 2007 regular-season finale. Chambers started at left tackle, lining up against the Eagles' Trent Cole, who finished the game with one tackle. Chambers draws Seattle's Patrick Kerney, who had 14 1/2 sacks last season. Cole had 12 1/2, but none against Chambers.
- Defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, acquired from Jacksonville, has seen his starts diminish over the last three seasons (16 to 11 to nine). He tries to reverse the trend at age 30.
- Beyond Stroud, the Bills added linebacker Kawika Mitchell and backup defensive tackle Spencer Johnson in free agency. They parted with five unrestricted free agents during the offseason: tight end Michael Gaines, receiver Sam Aiken, linebacker Leon Joe, cornerback Jason Webster and linebacker Josh Stamer.
I used the word "dreaded" regarding the early kickoff time for a reason. The Seahawks really, really, really, do not like the early starts. Really. Their record in the Eastern time zone last season: 1-4, with three of the losses by a combined nine points.
Update: Chris Brown of buffalobills.com says Jon Corto, formerly listed as a safety, has changed jersey numbers to reflect his status as a linebacker. This gives the Bills six linebackers. I've updated the Bills' roster to reflect.