Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says this wouldn't be the first time Matt Hasselbeck's contract talks with the Seahawks went down to the wire. O'Neil: "The first time also resulted in a last-minute agreement when Hasselbeck signed a six-year, $49.6 million contract in February 2005, the deal announced the very day the team may have been forced to use the franchise tag on Hasselbeck without a long-term deal. Six years later, Hasselbeck and the Seahawks are nearing another deadline, only this time there are national implications. Without a new deal, the future becomes very uncertain. That statement is true for the league in general and for the Seahawks and Hasselbeck in particular. That means everyone will be watching what happens before the close of business Thursday."
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has this to say about Hasselbeck's status: "Seahawk management has conceded that the quarterback issue is absolutely fundamental to the franchise’s future. If there were conviction that Hasselbeck’s being retained is the best option, it seems that a deal would have been struck by now. But without a labor deal in place, no one will have a clue where the Hawks stand relative to the most important position on the field. At least for a while."
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle says during a video clip that "anything can happen" regarding Hasselbeck -- including a new deal before the labor situation ends -- and that the quarterback will ultimately decide whether he wants to stay in Seattle or not.
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says Matt Leinart's fate with the Cardinals took a hit when the microphone a teammate was wearing captured the quarterbacks' rant against the team. Bickley: "During the last game of the preseason, the then-Cardinals quarterback was wandering the sideline when he approached a teammate who was wired to capture the sounds of an NFL game. The teammate asked Leinart about his future in Arizona, and according to whispers, Leinart let loose on the organization and the head coach. One problem: Leinart had no idea his teammate was wearing a hidden microphone. Did the audio outburst reach Ken Whisenhunt? Did it hasten or trigger Leinart's departure? The Cardinals say no, but clearly, it couldn't have helped."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com passes along a 2006 photo showing Prince Amukamara, then in high school, posing with Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald at the Cardinals' facility. Urban: "Amukamara has come a long way since then, going to the University of Nebraska, getting switched to cornerback and, obviously, filling out physically. Now he’s a first-round NFL draft pick-to-be, impressing a lot of people at the just-completed Scouting combine. He’s regarded as the second-best cornerback behind LSU’s Patrick Peterson."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams tendered contracts to their potential restricted free agents. Thomas: "Tight end Daniel Fells, defensive tackle Gary Gibson and offensive tackle Renardo Foster were tendered at a right of first refusal level. None of the three players were drafted, so the Rams have matching rights on any outside offers. But they would not get draft pick compensation if the players received a contract offer from another club and the Rams decided not to match that offer. Meanwhile, linebacker Chris Chamberlain, offensive guard John Greco, cornerback Justin King, wide receiver Laurent Robinson and linebacker David Vobora were tendered at their original draft position level." Fells, Gibson and Robinson would generally qualify as unrestricted free agents using previously established parameters. Quincy Butler, Kenneth Darby and Curtis Johnson did not receive tenders.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers appear uninterested in bringing back quarterback Troy Smith. Also from Barrows: "Many of you have asked via Twitter and other means whether the team will cut ties with cornerback Nate Clements before the league year ends as the Packers did today with linebacker A.J. Hawk. In Hawk's case, he was set to earn a $10.5 million bonus on the first day of the new league year. Clements also is scheduled for a huge salary in 2011, but unlike Hawk there is no trigger point -- aside from the start of the season -- that would prompt an early release."
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh values accuracy in his quarterbacks, one reason Troy Smith probably isn't in the team's plans. Alex Smith isn't particularly accurate by starting quarterback standards, but he has completed a higher percentage of passes than Troy Smith.