NFC West: Madieu Williams

PHOENIX -- The Seattle Seahawks and especially the San Francisco 49ers added to their 2013 NFL draft hauls Monday when the NFL awarded compensatory selections to offset net losses in free agency last year.

The 49ers received the 131st overall pick, a fourth-rounder, plus the 246th and 252nd choices, both in the seventh round. The Seahawks received the 241st and 242nd overall choices, also in the seventh round.

Teams cannot trade compensatory picks.

"Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks," the NFL announced. "Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula."

The 49ers received compensatory choices because free-agent losses Blake Costanzo, Josh Morgan and Madieu Williams outweighed free-agent addition Mario Manningham according to the formula. The Seahawks received picks because free-agent losses Atari Bigby, John Carlson, David Hawthorne and Charlie Whitehurst outweighed free-agent additions Matt Flynn and Jason Jones. Update: The NFL clarified that Adam Snyder, who signed with Arizona from San Francisco, factored into the equation awarding the 49ers three comp picks.

I've put together lists below showing all unrestricted free agents added, lost and re-signed by NFC West teams last offseason.

Update: I've also made available for download an Excel file with tentative 2013 draft order, reflecting comp picks and known trades. This is unofficial. The league has not yet released the official order; additional trades could affect it.

The 49ers have a league-high 14 picks, including two picks in each of the second through fifth rounds. They're in prime position to stock their roster for the future.

By my accounting, the Cardinals hold the 7th, 38th, 69th, 103rd, 140th, 174th and 176th picks. The 49ers hold the 31st, 34th, 61st, 74th, 93rd, 128th, 131st, 157th, 164th, 180th, 227th, 237th, 246th and 252nd choices. The Seahawks hold the 56th, 87th, 123rd, 138th, 158th, 194th, 220th, 231st, 241st and 242nd choices. The Rams hold the 16th, 22nd, 46th, 78th, 113th, 149th, 184th and 222nd picks.

Update: The Seahawks sent the 214th choice, acquired from Buffalo in the Tarvaris Jackson trade, to Minnesota as part of the Percy Harvin trade.

Arizona Cardinals

Re-signed: D'Anthony Batiste, Mike Leach, Early Doucet, Jay Feely, Dave Zastudil
Added: Adam Snyder, William Gay, James Sanders, Quentin Groves
Lost: Richard Marshall, Sean Considine, Deuce Lutui

San Francisco 49ers

Re-signed: Tavares Gooden, Carlos Rogers, Alex Smith, Ted Ginn Jr.
Added: Mario Manningham, Rock Cartwright, Josh Johnson
Lost: Josh Morgan, Adam Snyder, Blake Costanzo, Reggie Smith, Madieu Williams, Chilo Rachal

Seattle Seahawks

Re-signed: Heath Farwell, Red Bryant, Paul McQuistan, Michael Robinson, Leroy Hill, Matt McCoy
Added: Matt Flynn, Jason Jones, Deuce Lutui, Barrett Ruud
Lost: John Carlson, Atari Bigby, Charlie Whitehurst, Tony Hargrove, David Hawthorne

St. Louis Rams

Re-signed: Kellen Clemens
Added: Cortland Finnegan, Kendall Langford, Scott Wells, Quinn Ojinnaka, Steve Smith, Robert Turner, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, William Hayes, Trevor Laws, Mario Haggan, Barry Richardson
Lost: Brandon Lloyd, Chris Chamberlain, Donnie Jones, Jacob Bell, Bryan Kehl, Gary Gibson

With the NFL deadline for naming franchise players passing at 4 p.m. ET Monday, we await official word from the league as to whether any NFC West players received the designation.

This can be a nerve-racking time for teams and fans hoping to keep favorite players.

Using the franchise tag almost always keeps a player from leaving in free agency. Teams must balance those concerns with a player's actual value. This year, deciding against using the tag could allow good-not-great NFC West players such as Dashon Goldson, Delanie Walker and Danny Amendola to reach the market and sign elsewhere.

It's tough losing key players, but for some perspective, let's revisit the list of 2012 NFC West unrestricted free agents to change teams during the UFA signing period last offseason: Note: UFAs include only veteran players whose contracts expired. Released players are not UFAs.
NFC West teams added or re-signed 38 unrestricted free agents during the recently completed UFA signing period. They lost or did not re-sign 47 such players.

One key difference between those groups: age.

The St. Louis Rams in particular used the UFA signing period to get younger. The 12 UFAs they added (11) or re-signed (one) averaged 2.49 years younger than the 20 UFAs they lost (six) or have not re-signed (14). The gap was 1.39 years younger on average throughout the division. The Rams have the youngest roster in the NFL, based on averages I maintain for every team in the league.

Some older UFAs never sign another NFL contract. They disappear from rosters and realize, perhaps a year or two later, that they've been retired.

The chart shows age differences for the 38 UFA players added or re-signed versus the 47 lost to other teams or still unsigned. According to the NFL, 143 UFAs changed teams across the league this offseason. Another 112 re-signed with their 2011 teams.

Unsigned players remain free to sign with another team, but the NFL will not count them as UFA signings. The distinction matters in part because only UFA additions and losses count toward the formula for determining compensatory draft choices. That formula relies heavily on player salaries. UFAs available this late in the process generally wouldn't command enough money to affect compensatory picks, anyway.

A quick look at which UFA players from NFC West teams did not sign or re-sign as UFAs:
The 27 unsigned UFAs from the NFC West average 31.38 years old, about 3.3 years older than the 22 UFAs signed from other teams.

Nine of the 27 are at least 33 years old. Another 12 are between 29 and 32. Justin King, former cornerback for the Rams, is the youngest at 25 years old.
The Arizona Cardinals paid $12 million to quarterback Kevin Kolb last season.

They wound up paying him another $7 million this offseason, but only after failing to land Peyton Manning.

Did they also owe Kolb an explanation for their plans at the position? It's easy in retrospect to say they should have apprised Kolb of their plans, but showing sensitivity to Manning became the top priority for teams hoping to sign the four-time MVP quarterback.

The Cardinals didn't want to mess up their chances.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers reached out to Alex Smith late in the process, and Smith later denied reports that the 49ers' handling of the Manning pursuit had upset him at the time. These were sensitive situations.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Kolb did eventually get an explanation from coach Ken Whisenhunt. Kolb: "They didn't deny anything. They didn't lie. They didn't apologize for anything, like they shouldn't. It's kind of hard to 'if and but' around the situation, but without getting into too much detail about the situation, I just said, 'In the future, you can just communicate with me. I can take it, if this is the route you're going.' I'd just rather hear from him than the ticker or something. He agreed and that's how relationships grow and that's where we're headed."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals tackle Levi Brown.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says a smaller window for offseason conditioning means additional work.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program began with baseline strength and flexibility testing. Trainer Sam Ramsden: "Basically what we're looking for is pain with movement, so we can pick something up and treat it. We're looking for imbalance, whether they do better with left versus right, so we know that's a predisposed factor to injury. So we're using it as a proactive, preventative tool to assess our players prior to beginning their offseason conditioning program."

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle passes along recent comments from Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson regarding the value Paul McQuistan provides as a utility offensive lineman. Robinson: "Paul McQuistan, he was all over the line. I called him my MVP in midseason. He would laugh about it, but I think he definitely was. Without a guy like that being able to just step in, and without production dropping off, it made things very easy, especially for a fullback and a runner -- he opened lanes for us."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coaches are allowed on the field with players Tuesday for the first time this offseason. The Rams are two weeks ahead of their division rivals, having been allowed to begin their voluntary offseason conditioning program April 2, when teams with new head coaches began. Coach Jeff Fisher: "Tuesday is our first opportunity to join the players on the field. Coaches have been prohibited from observing and participating up until this week. So we've got two days to introduce our offense and defense, some aspects of special teams, and get the players moving around a little bit."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have too many needs to justify moving up for any one player near the top of the 2012 NFL draft.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com outlines the San Francisco 49ers' needs on defense, as he sees them. Maiocco: "With the departures of reserve safeties Reggie Smith and Madieu Williams, the 49ers must add a young player to compete with C.J. Spillman for the top backup spot behind starters Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner. Also, the 49ers would like to create more competition for the cornerback jobs."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Larry Grant's return gives the 49ers one player remaining from their 2008 draft class.

Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News is back with the second part of his interview with 49ers CEO Jed York, who has this to say about NFL reaction to the team securing a new stadium: "I think the league is ecstatic. This is the first stadium built just for pro football in the history of California. If you look at the other ones, Qualcomm Stadium (in San Diego) was for baseball, Candlestick Park was for baseball, the Coliseum in Oakland was built for baseball and mixed use. In Southern California, the Coliseum and Rose Bowl, those were for the Olympics and college sports. This is the first building just for pro football, and it speaks volumes for the amount of work that went into it. California has been such a great market, and we just haven't had the venues to host the great American sporting event (the Super Bowl)."

Stephanie M. Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' eventual relocation to Santa Clara for games will cost San Francisco money.
The San Francisco 49ers need to identify a starting right guard.

Adam Snyder is out, having signed with Arizona. Chilo Rachal appears to be out, having reached free agency without the 49ers showing much interest in him. Daniel Kilgore remains, but he remains a developmental player entering his second NFL season.

What about swing tackle Alex Boone?

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers are expected to give Boone a shot at the job. Former NFL center LeCharles Bentley, who helps train Boone during the offseason, had this to say about the idea: "Honestly, in their scheme, guards are a dime a dozen. A good young offensive tackle is such a premium. It would be a waste of ability. .. But if he's one of the five best, yeah, get him on the field." Noted: The 49ers paid more than a dime for left guard Mike Iupati, a first-round choice in 2010, the year before Jim Harbaugh arrived as the 49ers' head coach. Boone could, in theory, remain a backup option at tackle even while playing guard. At 6-foot-8 and 300 pounds, however, Boone looks like a tackle, not a guard. Bentley thinks the team should move right tackle Anthony Davis to guard, but there are no indications the 49ers plan to head in that direction.

Also from Maiocco: lists players scheduled to attend the 49ers' pro day for local prospects.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers have shown interest in tight end Andre Hardy, a college basketball player.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers made little apparent effort to keep safety Madieu Williams, who reached agreement on a contract with the Washington Redskins. Noted: The 49ers signed Williams last offseason while Dashon Goldson remained a free agent. They then signed Goldson to a one-year deal. They had less need for Williams as an insurance policy with the franchise tag restricting Goldson this offseason.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points during a recent chat to Jeff Fisher's history in suggesting the Rams probably will not select guard David DeCastro with the sixth overall choice. What if Matt Kalil were available? Thomas: "No. 6 is too high for DeCastro. Plus, I think it's been pretty well established that Fisher would rather not taken an offensive lineman in the first round. He didn't do it once in 16 full seasons with Houston/Tennessee. So it'll be very interesting if Kalil's there at No. 6, as was the case in the P-D's latest mock draft from last Sunday. Do the Rams take him or trade down?"

Also from Thomas: The Rams might need to draft a punter after watching Donnie Jones sign with the Houston Texans.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com shares what various mock drafts are projecting for Seattle in the first round this year. Luke Kuechly showed up four times and Quinton Coples twice. Nick Perry and Fletcher Cox each showed up once. Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com: "The Seahawks could go in a few directions at this spot, but Kuechly makes the most sense to me to QB Pete Carroll’s defense. As Carroll said to me last week, linebackers in free agency moved off the board slowly because there are some very interesting linebackers in the draft."

Also from Farnsworth: Ricardo Lockette's speed overshadows other parts of the receiver's game.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times has this to say about new Seahawks guard Deuce Lutui: "Lutui was signed to a one-year deal. That's not a long-term investment. Rather, it's an opportunity for Lutui to play his way back into position to earn a longer-term contract, going to a team coached by a man he's familiar with. For Seattle, the upside is that if Lutui is motivated and in shape, the Seahawks are getting a former second-round draft pick who started for five seasons at a bargain of a price."

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle passes along Adam Schefter's note about former 49ers and Saints nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin paying a free-agent visit to the Seahawks. Noted: Former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan works for the Seahawks now, giving Seattle a feel for Franklin.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com has details on Adrian Wilson's cameo appearance on "Hawaii Five-O" Monday night. Wilson was a prison guard on the show. Urban: "The scene was shot while Wilson was in Hawaii recently, although his spot in the show was somewhat of a fluke. One of his publicists, Carrie Carnie, got to talking to one of the producers of the show on an airline flight. Turned out the producer was a fan of Wilson’s and the role was created. It's not exactly Wilson’s arena, though. While the actual scene was being shot, it was fun, he said. But mostly, 'there was a lot of time in between shots, just waiting around.' "

Also from Urban: Cardinals guard Chris Stewart put on hold his pursuit of a law degree to play in the NFL. Urban: "He got his bachelor’s degree in history and political science in just three years at Notre Dame, and after redshirting his freshman year on the football field, he ended up with two years of football eligibility left with every option open for classes. The first year he took grad school courses trying to find his life’s direction, including some law courses. The next year -- his senior year on the football field -- he decided to work out the logistics, take the LSAT, and enter Notre Dame’s law school."
The evidence against Gregg Williams continues to mount, renewing questions about whether the indefinitely suspended defensive coordinator can credibly resume his career in the NFL.

The latest revelations -- profanity-laced recorded comments Williams made to New Orleans Saints players before their playoff game at San Francisco -- are chilling in their specificity. Time and again, Williams encouraged players to injure specific opponents, from Michael Crabtree to Frank Gore to Alex Smith to Kyle Williams.

Given these recordings, it's for the best that Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams, declined to appeal his suspension relating to the Saints' bounty scandal. There can be no defending what he said.

Pro Football Talk has transcribed some of the comments. Yahoo! Sports' Mike Silver also has a column on the matter. I listened to the comments and transcribed them for this item.

"Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head," Williams told Saints players one day before the 49ers defeated New Orleans in the wild-card round. "Early, affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head."

There was more. Much more.

"We need to find out in the first two series of the game, the little wide receiver, No. 10, about his concussion," Williams said, referring to Kyle Williams. "We need to [expletive] put a lick on him right now."

Williams also indicated the Saints should take out Crabtree's knee.

"We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a fake ass prima donna or he wants to be a tough guy," Williams told players. "We need to find it out. He becomes human when we [expletive] take out that outside ACL."

On and on it went.

Williams encouraged players to hit Smith under the chin, referring back to the "big eyes" Smith got when the Saints hit him repeatedly during the exhibition opener. He wanted the Saints to take out all the 49ers' key players, noting repeatedly that his team should not apologize for how it plays the game.

"We need to decide on how many times we can beat Frank Gore's head," Williams said.

Williams allegedly punctuated some of his comments with a hand gesture indicating he would pay cash for injuring the 49ers. These are damning tapes further cementing Williams' reputation for crossing the line.

Looks like we'll have even more than anticipated to discuss on the blog Thursday.

Elsewhere in the division ...

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News offers thoughts on the 49ers not facing the Raiders in the preseason.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Reggie Smith's departure from the 49ers in free agency further guts what remains of the team's 2008 draft class. Barrows: "According to a source, Smith, an unrestricted free agent, told the 49ers in his exit interview in January that he was not interested in returning to the team, presumably because he knew his chances of starting were slim with Dashon Goldson on the roster. The 49ers made Goldson their franchise player, although he has yet to sign the tender. The top three safeties for 2012 appear to be Goldson, strong safety Donte Whitner and C.J. Spillman. Madieu Williams, who also is a free agent, could return."

Taylor Price of 49ers.com says players are working out informally at team headquarters in advance of the voluntary offseason workout program.

Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis quotes new Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan saying he wanted to play for Williams. Finnegan: "Every player you talk to says what a great coach he is. I was so excited to have a chance to play for him. He has a great defense and players love playing in that defense."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says recently retired former Rams receiver Torry Holt downplayed talk about the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Holt: "Shoot, we've got to get Cris Carter in the Hall, we have to get Andre Reed in the Hall, we've got to get Tim Brown in the Hall before we even start mentioning anything about Torry Holt being in the Hall."

Also from Thomas: notes from Holt's retirement news conference. Holt on whether signing a one-day contract would let him suit up: "I was speaking to Carla, my wife, and said, 'You know what? It would probably be cool if I called (equipment manager) Jimmy Lake and I had him set up my locker and get my cleats, and get my gloves, get my baggy shorts, and let me run one more deep seven (route). Shoot it out of the JUGS machine and I could catch it for a touchdown.' ... You know what? That'd be too much. Let's act like an adult here, I guess."

More from Thomas: The Rams have interest in free agent receiver Jerome Simpson.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune makes available draft analyst Rob Rang for a discussion focusing mostly on the Seahawks. Rang: "I believe Coby Fleener is going to wind up as a top 20 pick. There are few teams with obvious needs at TE to warrant such a pick, but coming off a 2011 season in which Gronk, Graham, etc. demonstrated just how effective these matchup nightmares can be, I believe some team is going to shock everyone. That team could be Seattle. If you're going to build a team around a relatively weak-armed QB, he'd damn well better have some weapons."

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle explains why he thinks the Seahawks' were true to form in letting David Hawthorne sign with New Orleans.

Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times says the Seahawks met with Patriots free agent defensive back Antwaun Molden.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic has this to say about the Cardinals' preseason schedule: "It will be the eighth time in the past nine seasons that the Cardinals have played the Broncos in the final preseason game."

Also from Somers: Levi Brown re-signed with the Cardinals shortly after the team visited with free-agent tackle Demetress Bell. Somers: "Coincidence? Maybe. The Cardinals paid Brown a $7 million signing bonus. Earlier in free agency they signed guard/tackle Adam Snyder to a five-year deal that included a $5 million signing bonus. The Cardinals remained interested in Bell, but it was questionable if they were going to write another big check for an offensive lineman."

More from Somers: The Cardinals have their key specialists under contract.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com looks at options for Arizona on the offensive line. He quotes line coach Russ Grimm on Adam Snyder: "He was tops on our free agent list as far as offensive line was concerned. He’s a big physical guy, he's smart, he has played a number of positions. Right now we have him penciled in at right guard but if we have to move it around before camp we’ll move it around."

2012 NFC West UFA scorecard: update

March, 16, 2012
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Michael Robinson's expected re-signing with the Seattle Seahawks would give the team a league-high four re-signings in the unrestricted free-agent market.

Red Bryant, Paul McQuistan and Heath Farwell previously re-signed.

Seattle and the other NFC West teams have added only two UFAs from other teams, however. I've put together UFA scorecards for each team in the division. Ages are in parenthesis. Here goes ...

Seattle Seahawks

UFA unsigned (age): defensive end Raheem Brock (33), defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson (31), safety Atari Bigby (30), quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (29), linebacker Leroy Hill (29), linebacker Matt McCoy (29), defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (28), linebacker David Hawthorne (26), running back Justin Forsett (26), linebacker David Vobora (25)

UFA re-signed: Farwell (30), Robinson (29), McQuistan (28), Bryant (27)

UFA added: none

UFA lost: tight end John Carlson (27)

Franchise player: none

Comment: Forsett has provided value, but the Seahawks will want to add a power back as depth behind Marshawn Lynch, who re-signed before free agency. Mike Tolbert, a free agent from the San Diego Chargers, could be worth a look if the running back market remains soft. Tolbert weighs 243 pounds, has 21 total touchdowns over the past two seasons, and caught 54 passes in 2012. The price would have to be right after Seattle committed to Lynch.

San Francisco 49ers

UFA unsigned: fullback Moran Norris (33), tight end Justin Peelle (33), safety Madieu Williams (30), quarterback Alex Smith (27), receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (26), guard Chilo Rachal (26), safety Reggie Smith (25)

UFA re-signed: cornerback Carlos Rogers (30), linebacker Tavares Gooden (27)

UFA added: none

UFA lost: guard Adam Snyder (30), linebacker Blake Costanzo (27), receiver Josh Morgan (26)

Franchise player: safety Dashon Goldson (27)

Comment: Randy Moss and potential addition Rock Cartwright do not appear in the listings because they were not unrestricted free agents. Re-signing Alex Smith and finding additional receiver help appear to be the top priorities. The 49ers are showing little outward urgency on either front, however.

Arizona Cardinals

UFA unsigned: defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday (36), kicker Jay Feely (35), long-snapper Mike Leach (35), outside linebacker Clark Haggans (35), outside linebacker Joey Porter (34), offensive lineman Floyd Womack (33), punter Dave Zastudil (33), tackle D'Anthony Batiste (29), safety Sean Considine (29), guard Deuce Lutui (28), safety Hamza Abdullah (28), tackle Brandon Keith (27), receiver Early Doucet (26)

UFA re-signed: none.

UFA added: Snyder (30)

UFA lost: cornerback Richard Marshall (27)

Franchise player: defensive end Calais Campbell (25)

Comment: The Cardinals have been in a tough spot. They would have faced criticism had they declined to pursue Peyton Manning. They could now face criticism for sacrificing the first week of free agency while waiting for Manning. The reality is that Arizona probably wasn't going to be all that aggressive in the market this offseason, anyway. It did hurt losing Marshall to the Miami Dolphins after coordinator Ray Horton called him the Cardinals' defensive MVP.

St. Louis Rams

UFA unsigned: cornerback Al Harris (37), quarterback A.J. Feeley (34), offensive lineman Tony Wragge (32), linebacker Brady Poppinga (32), punter Donnie Jones (31), offensive lineman Adam Goldberg (31), guard Jacob Bell (31), receiver Brandon Lloyd (30), cornerback Rod Hood (30), running back Cadillac Williams (29), defensive tackle Gary Gibson (29), receiver Mark Clayton (29), tackle Mark LeVoir (29), tight end Stephen Spach (29), safety James Butler (29), tight end Billy Bajema (29), quarterback Kellen Clemens (28), running back Jerious Norwood (28), linebacker Bryan Kehl (27), linebacker Chris Chamberlain (26), cornerback Justin King (24)

UFA re-signed: none

UFA added: cornerback Cortland Finnegan (28)

UFA lost: none

Franchise player: none

Comment: The Rams are not looking to re-sign many of their own free agents. They want to turn over the roster, and that is happening in a big way. The team's failure to secure playmaking help for quarterback Sam Bradford stands out as the biggest theme to this point. Finnegan was a welcome addition, but he isn't going to score many touchdowns.

The chart below shows a general overview.

First look at 49ers' 2012 free agents

February, 7, 2012
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Five of the San Francisco 49ers' projected unrestricted free agents for 2012 played right around 1,000 snaps or more last season, easily the highest figure in the NFC West.

Re-signing quarterback Alex Smith appears likely. Smith accepted the Associated Press' coach of the year award on Jim Harbaugh's behalf Saturday, the latest indication Smith remains firmly in the fold.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers has said he wants to return. His value spiked after earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. The franchise tag remains available, but the price would be lower if San Francisco used it for free safety Dashon Goldson instead. Either way, the 49ers have decisions to make in their secondary.

The charts below expand upon Brian McIntyre's lists. I've added offensive and defensive snap counts from ESPN Stats & Information. The final column shows what players earned per year on their most recent contracts.

Some players, notably Blake Costanzo and C.J. Spillman, played extensively on special teams. The charts show offensive and defensive snap counts only.

.

The second chart shows restricted free agents. Teams can retain rights to RFAs by making one-year qualifying offers.

Rapid Reaction: 49ers 23, Cardinals 7

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Candlestick Park in Week 11:

What it means: The 49ers can clinch the NFC West title with a victory at Baltimore and a Seattle loss to Washington. They improved to 9-1 while securing their first winning season since 2002. They have won eight in a row, the fourth-longest streak since 1970 for a team with a rookie head coach. This was an ugly victory, particularly for the 49ers' offense. That's not a bad thing entirely, however. Coach Jim Harbaugh will suffer no shortage of coaching points heading into a much-anticipated game at Baltimore. The Cardinals were worse on offense, making it easier politically for them to transition back to Kevin Kolb at quarterback, provided Kolb's foot and toe injuries heal enough for him to practice this week.

What I liked: The 49ers continued to win with field position and turnovers. Receiver Michael Crabtree played a strong game, breaking tackles and picking up yards after the catch. The 49ers' yards after the catch have plummeted overall this season. Crabtree's average YAC had fallen from 5.4 last season to 3.9 through Week 10 this season. He pumped up those numbers Sunday and won his matchups against the Cardinals' Patrick Peterson.

Another 49ers receiver, Kyle Williams, also enjoyed a strong game. Williams showed sure hands making catches away from his body. He also caught a scoring pass. The 49ers played suffocating defense, allowing their offense and special teams a fat margin for error. Patrick Willis, Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson picked off passes. The offense kept plugging away and finally got going. Frank Gore's knee was healthy enough for him to start and play effectively.

For the Cardinals, linebacker Stewart Bradley made a couple jarring tackles on special teams, including a memorable one against 49ers punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. Calais Campbell blocked a field goal for the fifth time in his career. The Cardinals' defense played well enough early to keep Arizona close.

What I didn't like: Skelton played his worst game of the season, serving up turnovers with inexplicable throws. He completed 6 of 19 passes for 99 yards, no touchdowns and a 10.5 NFL passer rating. This might have been the worst performance by an NFC West quarterback this season, worse even than Charlie Whitehurst's game for Seattle at Cleveland. On defense, Peterson had issues in coverage, starting poorly when he slipped on the wet grass, allowing a big gain for Crabtree. For the 49ers, quarterback Alex Smith was off-target and off-speed early in the game. Braylon Edwards dropped a couple of passes early. Then, when Edwards was open in the end zone, Smith threw too high and too hard for him. Smith also missed a wide-open Crabtree in the end zone, again throwing too hard. The 49ers' usually strong special teams faltered repeatedly. David Akers missed two field goal tries and had two more blocked, one by Campbell and one by Peterson. The 49ers incurred multiple penalties during returns.

Costly skirmish: Referee Peter Morelli ejected Goldson in the fourth quarter after Goldson threw punches at Cardinals receiver Early Doucet. Doucet had come over to Goldson while Goldson was down, hitting him in the head. The 49ers will now wait to see whether the NFL suspends Goldson for their Thursday night game at Baltimore. If that happens, the 49ers will presumably keep Madieu Williams active. Williams was named inactive Sunday. The 49ers kept Shawntae Spencer active instead.

Block party: The Cardinals blocked two field goal tries in the same game for the first time since a Sept. 17, 1972, game against the Baltimore Colts. They became the first team since Seattle on Oct. 23 to block more than one in an NFL game.

Empty at fullback: The 49ers lost fullback Bruce Miller to a head injury. Their other fullback, Moran Norris, has been sidelined with a leg injury. It's unclear whether San Francisco will have either player on a short week.

Upon further review: Harbaugh keeps challenging plays whether or not they are reviewable under the rules. After officials denied one request for review, Harbaugh successfully challenged whether Beanie Wells had fumbled. The 49ers took over possession and kicked a field goal for a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. That was Harbaugh's third successful challenge in eight coach-initiated reviews this season. Later, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt lost a challenge when he thought Smith's pass traveled backward. Whisenhunt has challenged seven plays this season, succeeding on four of them.

What's next: The 49ers visit Baltimore for a Thursday night game against the Ravens. The Cardinals visit St. Louis.

Gore active; Kolb, Heap will not play

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco 49ers kept running back Frank Gore active Sunday after listing him as questionable on their Friday injury report.

That was the most notable pregame roster move for San Francisco in Week 11. The team also declared free safety Madieu Williams inactive, choosing instead to keep cornerback Shawntae Spencer active. Spencer provides additional coverage depth after starter Tarell Brown suffered a knee injury in practice. The team listed Brown as questionable. He is active. Also at corner, rookie Chris Culliver is coming off a rough week against the New York Giants, according to 49ers' coaches.

The Arizona Cardinals' inactive list featured no big surprises. Quarterback Kevin Kolb and tight ends Todd Heap and Rob Housler will miss the game while resting injuries. All have struggled with injuries in recent weeks. Kolb in particular was not expected to play.

Sorting through NFL fines from Week 1

September, 16, 2011
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The NFL levied no fines Richard Marshall, Clark Haggans or Madieu Williams even though all incurred memorable personal-foul penalties in Week 1.

That's an indication the NFL thought their plays were made within the rules.

The penalty against Marshall, the Arizona Cardinals cornerback, wiped out an interception shortly before halftime against Carolina. The Panthers scored two plays later, taking a 14-7 lead.

Officials said Williams, the San Francisco 49ers' veteran safety, struck Seattle Seahawks tight end Anthony McCoy in the head. Replays showed otherwise.

The chart sorts through personal-foul penalties levied against players involved in NFC West games last week, according to the NFL.

Philadelphia's Trent Cole and St. Louis C.J. Ah You each incurred $15,000 fines for hits on opposing quarterbacks during the Rams-Eagles game.

Gallery, Hawthorne, Rice miss for Seattle

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
3:06
PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Seattle Seahawks will be without three starters for their regular-season opener against San Francisco.

Two came as little surprise. Guard Robert Gallery (knee) and receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder) did not practice all week. A third, linebacker David Hawthorne, was limited during practice, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had sounded optimistic about Hawthorne's chances.

Rookie K.J. Wright will start at middle linebacker in Hawthorne's place. Carroll has lauded Wright as being ready to play as a rookie, but Hawthorne's experience would have carried value.

James Carpenter will start at left guard for Gallery. Breno Giacomini starts at right tackle, where Carpenter had played during preseason.

Seattle inactives: quarterback Josh Portis, receiver Kris Durham, Rice, Hawthorne, Gallery, tackle Jarriel King, defensive tackle Al Woods.

San Francisco inactives: quarterback Scott Tolzien, receiver Kyle Williams, free safety Dashon Goldson, offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore, offensive lineman Mike Person, nose tackle Ian Williams and defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs.

Veteran safety Madieu Williams will start in Goldson's place, as expected. Reggie Smith is also active among safeties after missing time to injury over the summer. He's expected to play on special teams as well as on defense.

Updated: NFC West roided-out rosters

September, 10, 2011
9/10/11
1:22
PM ET
The 26-column NFC West team rosters featuring more than 1,800 current and former players have been updated to include new information from 2010.

We can now see which players were on Week 17 rosters as backups, starters or as players on injured reserve. This info lets us sum up roster turnover for teams in the division.

In a few cases, backups from Week 17 last season were actually starters resting injuries. That was the case for the San Francisco 49ers' Patrick Willis. Overall, though, the numbers paint an accurate general picture.

The Seahawks have undergone the highest turnover from last season. Twenty-six players on their current 53-man roster were not on the 53-man roster or injured reserve in Week 17 last season. They have a division-low 11 starters from Week 17 on their roster at present. The St. Louis Rams have a division-high 18.

Unfortunately for Seattle, a couple of their top new players likely will not help them Sunday. The team expects receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder) and left guard Robert Gallery (knee) to miss the regular-season opener at San Francisco.

With Gallery out, the Seahawks have only one projected starter age 30 or older: Marcus Trufant. The Rams have eight, the Arizona Cardinals have six and the 49ers have five if Madieu Williams replaces the injured Dashon Goldson at safety, as expected. With Goldson listed among backups, the 49ers have the third-youngest offensive and defensive non-starters in the league, while those for Arizona and St. Louis rank among the four oldest.

We'll call those older backups "veteran depth" if the Rams and Cardinals enjoy strong seasons.


The second chart, updated to reflect Seattle's move to sign Anthony Hargove at Landon Cohen's expense, shows NFC West roster counts based on where players went to college. Conference affiliations are current, not necessarily as they were when players were in college.

The Seahawks remain heavy on players from the West, specifically the Pac-12. The Cardinals take pride in developing players from the Division I-AA (FCS) ranks, including receiver Andre Roberts, quarterback John Skelton and tackle Brandon Keith.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the intersection of faith and football has helped the Seahawks' Aaron Curry show improvement on the field. Brewer: "Because Curry's problems aren't physical, he still has a chance to be a rare, late-blooming linebacker if he can relax, study harder and develop a better feel for the game. Many don't see it and breathlessly declare him a bust. But Curry, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 draft, is only 25. There's still time. There's little question about his athletic ability. And there's no doubt his newfound faith is changing his mental approach."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says coach Pete Carroll is concerned about the team's issues in pass protection. Carroll: "It’s a race against time, and we’re not staying with the race right now."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times offers thoughts on the Seahawks' third preseason game. O'Neil: "Starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson can cut up a second-string defense just as efficiently as Charlie Whitehurst the first two exhibition games. The question is whether this offensive line can give anyone enough time in the pocket to have a reasonable chance of success this season. Seattle has allowed eight sacks in three games, and while that's tied for eighth-most of all NFL teams in August, it doesn't give a true indication of the pass pressure that has been constant and unrelenting."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune confirms a Pro Football Talk report noting that Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant has accepted a pay reduction from $5.9 million to $3 million for the 2011 season. I had thought the Seahawks would take this step earlier in the process; Lofa Tatupu's situation seemed to foreshadow something for Trufant as well. Both had signed Pro Bowl-caliber deals when they were Pro Bowl-caliber players.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals cornerback Greg Toler has suffered a sprained knee of unknown severity. Somers: "There was no immediate word on the seriousness of Toler's injury. The Cardinals could receive a boost soon if cornerback Mike Adams returns from knee surgery as expected. Adams underwent arthroscopic surgery early in training camp and was expected back in a few weeks. While Adams won't compete for a starting job, he has plenty of experience in nickel and dime schemes. And he's one of the club's better special-teams players."

Also from Somers: Kevin Kolb prefers sustained drives to big plays. Somers: "They strung more good plays together in the loss to the Chargers than they did in either of their previous two games. But mistakes, especially penalties, continue to hurt. Right tackle Brandon Keith was called for three penalties. Andre Roberts and Levi Brown each had a false start. There were big-play opportunities that were missed. Kolb overthrew Larry Fitzgerald early. And Beanie Wells was a stumble or two from breaking long runs."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Kolb clearly understands the importance of getting the ball to Fitzgerald.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams rookie Robert Quinn was pleased, but not overly so, to collect his first sack of the preseason. Quinn: "It definitely felt good. It's been a while since I had one of those. I feel like I'm getting my legs back up under me. And with the good group of core veterans on the D-line -- and really on the defense -- they just support me, trying to help me, I guess, mature faster as a young player. I really try to take their advice, learn from them, and help make a play."

Also from Thomas: The Rams feel like they are making progress on offense. Quarterback Sam Bradford: "I think everyone looked and felt more comfortable out there this week than they had in the past two weeks, including myself. I just felt much better with our operation. I felt we were quicker in and out of the huddle. I felt like our communication was better at the line of scrimmage. I just felt like everything [Friday] was almost normal in the sense that everyone's kinda starting to jell."

More from Thomas: Steven Jackson's preseason playing time has spiked this summer. Coach Steve Spagnuolo: "We talked extensively during the week about the two issues we thought we had in the Tennessee game, which was we didn't run the ball effectively and we didn't stop the run very well. So we wanted to have a mindset of being able to do that. Steven was all for it."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says cornerback Dionte Dinkins' high-ankle sprain was the Rams' most serious injury of the third preseason game.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams appear on the rise. Burwell: "Don't start organizing a parade, but this is actually starting to look promising. In three preseason games, we have noticed enough of the right stuff happening; draft picks that honestly look like they can contribute to something more substantial than a CFL roster; veteran free agents who don't look like horrid flops; coaches whose X's and O's come alive on game days; a growing radio and preseason television network that suggests the organization's venture into turning the Rams into a regional marketing phenomenon just might work, too."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com looks at 49ers players whose stock is rising -- and falling. Maiocco on safety Madieu Williams: "The veteran has been a sure tackler on defense and a willing special-teams performer. ... He provided one of the 49ers' best defensive plays with a forced fumble that led to a takeaway."

Also from Maiocco: 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh says it is "possible" Michael Crabtree could return from a foot injury this week. I heard Harbaugh's comments and thought he sounded noncommittal. Crabtree is, by definition, closer than ever to returning. That will always be true until he returns.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee outlines problems the 49ers faced against Houston. Barrows: "The Texans mostly rushed the same four linemen on every play and those linemen simply beat the 49ers on one-on-one matchups. The 49ers made Antonio Smith, a guy who has never had more than 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, look like the second coming of Michael Strahan."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers are heading in the wrong direction.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Frank Gore wants a new contract to help get his mind "right" for the season.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt for thoughts on Larry Fitzgerald's new contract. Whisenhunt: "Larry gets it, and that’s one of the reasons it was so important we got the deal done with him. He’s been a tremendous leader, he’s grown a lot in what we want him to do. It wasn’t always easy, because understanding the burden that comes on you as a great player, it’s not something that’s natural, especially someone who shies from the spotlight like Larry. When you recognize what a tremendous player he is and the accomplishments he has had over the last few years, it’s goes a long way that our team and (president) Michael Bidwill recognize that and are willing to do those deals."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals saw good things from O'Brien Schofield against Green Bay. Urban: "Schofield was all but invisible in the preseason opener, but against the Packers in the second game, he had a sack, a forced fumble, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit that forced an incompletion."

More from Urban: Cardinals notes, topped by one on running back Alfonso Smith.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are in no hurry to add a veteran running back following Ryan Williams' season-ending injury. Whisenhunt outlined what the team will be looking for at the position: "One that can do a little bit of everything. Obviously, someone that can help on third down, but be a good first- or second-down back. But it's not something we're just going to do overnight. We're going to do some research and try and get the right fit. There may be a player on another team right now that will become available at some point."

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic passes along Kevin Kolb's thoughts on Fitzgerald's new contract. Kolb: "Both of us are locked up for a long time so hopefully we can build this thing for the future. I told my wife this - I don't want to be anywhere else. I want to retire here. This is the place I want to be for a long time, so I want to make sure I can do all I can to make those hopes and dreams come true and make our own hopes and dreams come true."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains how Jake McQuaide found out he'd won the snapping battle against longtime incumbent Chris Massey. Massey shared the news with McQuaide at his locker. Coats: "Age and finances almost certainly were factors in the decision. Massey was due to make $1,375,000 this year. McQuaide, a 23-year-old rookie from Ohio State, will receive the first-year minimum of $375,000. The net salary cap savings will be $500,000."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with unheralded rookies trying to earn roster spots with the Rams.

Also from Thomas: Rams injury notes, plus an item about Ben Leber and Brady Poppinga getting reps with the first-team defense. Sounds like the Rams' shaky showing against the run in the second preseason game provided an opportunity to implement moves the team was expected to make all along.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com offers thoughts on one of the Rams' receivers fighting for a roster spot. Wagoner: "Receiver Danario Alexander got an MRI on his knee on Monday. Yes, that knee, the one that’s been surgically repaired multiple times. Alexander claimed it 'felt funny' and he and the Rams agreed it was best to get it checked out. Here’s hoping it’s nothing serious. Alexander has all the talent in the world and should be admired for even still playing after all he’s been through. But it’s hard to make a living in this game when you have constant problems. Here’s hoping it all works out."

Also from Wagoner: Expectations for third-year Rams tackle Jason Smith. Wagoner: "When Smith entered the league, he had a reputation for being a nasty run blocker capable of opening big holes. But Smith’s adjustment has taken some time and though he’s proved to be adept as a run blocker at times, he says he’d like to be more consistent. The addition of Harvey Dahl at right guard should help in that area. Dahl is known for his nasty disposition on the field and Smith says he can’t help but feel that attitude is infectious and going to help him be the hard-charging run blocker everyone though he could be."

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says there's no reason to get worked up about the Seahawks' quarterback situation following two preseason games. Brewer: "I'm only willing to declare one absolute about the Seahawks after two exhibition games: They have more depth. They'll have some difficult decisions to make at the 53-man cut. Unlike last year, when they only liked about 45 of their players and did the super roster shuffle after the cut date, they're more likely to keep all of their guys this time, barring some impact player becoming available."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times looks at Red Bryant's impact on the Seahawks' run defense.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says this about Aaron Curry's restructured contract: "Because Curry’s salary is not guaranteed in 2012, the Seahawks could release him in February without any financial obligation. The restructured deal also makes it easier to move Curry in a trade."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com looks at the good and bad from the team's most recent preseason game. Farnsworth: "The Seahawks were flagged 10 times for 84 wrong-way yards – eight times in the first half for 69 yards. That’s unacceptable, even if this was only the second preseason game. There were three false start penalties, a disconcerting continuation of the problem the linemen have been having in practice. But two of them were on wide receiver Mike Williams and Zach Miller. The worst infraction, however, was linebacker Aaron Curry ripping the helmet off Vikings guard Ryan Cook and then throwing it. Unacceptable? Carroll pulled Curry out of the game."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers made it clear, again, that Taylor Mays wasn't in their plans before finally trading the safety to Cincinnati. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio before the trade: "We feel good with (Donte) Whitner, him (Reggie Smith), (Dashon) Goldson, (Madieu) Williams, and (C.J.) Spillman. We feel like we've got five safeties there that can play in the NFL. Some of them have great special teams value over the others, so if we have to keep four, that will be a hard decision. If we keep five, I think they will all be different pieces that we will use during the season."

Also from Barrows: Frank Gore does not appear inclined to ask for a trade.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers-Raiders exhibition games had to die following recent postgame violence.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News speaks with an NFL security official regarding the league's response to fan violence.

Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle offers 49ers notes, including one about Dominique Zeigler practicing for the first time since suffering a knee injury Nov. 30.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle has this to say regarding the violence: "The authorities saw the local rivalry as Saturday's main storm cloud, compounded by the 5 p.m. start and the nature of exhibition tickets, which frequently end up in the hands of people who paid little or nothing for admission. Without much of an investment in the product, and minimal meaningful action on the field, these patrons tend to arrive with other forms of entertainment on their itinerary."

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