NFC West: Trevor Gaylor
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Rams could certainly use a starting-caliber wide receiver. Donnie Avery and perhaps the newly acquired Laurent Robinson join Keenan Burton as the Rams' top three receivers. None has proved himsel
f as a consistent starter to this point.
For that reason, I expect the Rams to strongly consider drafting a receiver in the first three rounds. If Michael Crabtree isn't a consideration at No. 2, the Rams might need to hope one of the more talented wideouts falls to them in the second round.
What will the Rams do? Let's start by looking at which receivers their general manager's teams have selected during the 2000s. We see right away from looking at the chart that Billy Devaney's teams -- the Chargers, 49ers, Falcons and Rams -- haven't used first-round choices for the position.
The pattern holds even if we expand the range to 1990, when Devaney broke into the NFL with the Chargers under GM Bobby Beathard (Devaney was there from 1990 through 2000).
Avery still stands as the only receiver Devaney's teams have drafted among the top 40 overall choices. From 1990 to 1996, the Chargers did draft five receivers in the second and third rounds (picks 41 through 70). Throw in Burton's selection at No. 75 last year and we see where Devaney might strike for a receiver in 2009.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Paco from Hermosillo, Mexico writes: Hello Sando, very interesting, this is my opinion, as a Cardinals fan for more than 15 years, this is new territory for us, trying to get back to the superbowl, I guess you first try to get back to the playoffs and then see what happens ...
As for Boldin, I defenitely love his play, however this is a very interesting and important business decision; first of all you have to know if he and his agent (hate him) are willing to renegotiate. If they are, you move to the next stage, and that is assesing his value, which in my mind can't be the same as Fitz. The problem is that Boldin believes he is as good or even better than Fitz, so the least he will take is a deal equal to the one they gave Fitz.
If the parties do not agree on the value of the contract or if Boldin doesn't want to renegotiate, I think this is a great moment to make a trade and get as much as you can for him, starting with what the Lions got for Roy Williams; I´ve read that as many as 15 teams are interested in Boldin, so let´s see who makes the best proposal, and make the trade.
We can even be a better team with Breaston and Fitz starting at WR and a more balanced attack, specially come playoff time. Thanks Sando for your great job, not only covering the Cardinals but the whole NFC West. We appreciate and please keep us posted on any new information, specially regarding the Cardinals.
Mike Sando: Thanks much, sir. Boldin will probably never be able to command what Fitzgerald commanded because the circumstances were different for Fitzgerald. The rookie deal Fitzgerald signed pretty much forced the Cardinals' hand. Fitzgerald had all the leverage. His salary-cap number was preventing the organization from signing other players.
Boldin has no such leverage. He has two years left on his deal and the Cardinals, through their Fitzgerald-led success, have become less beholden to Boldin.
I go back and forth as to what I think the Cardinals should do. As an organization, it's important for them to establish how they will conduct business.
If they do not want players to seek new deals with multiple years remaining on their contracts, then they should not rework deals for players with multiple years remaining on contracts. General manager Rod Graves put it this way last offseason: "We may have to set policy in the future as to how early we will even consider redoing contracts."
At the same time, the Cardinals should probably find out what Boldin might return in a trade. If they're pretty sure teams won't meet their demands, perhaps they should just let Boldin play out the final two years of his contract.
Marco from Las Cruces writes: Thanks for the followup to one of my previous questions. I wanted to know your thoughts on the 49ers current FB Zak Keasey, I liked his play early in the season and obviously they did also when they released Norris. Does Keasey not fit the mold of the traditional FB? I know he made more of an impact on special teams but he is still learning since he is a converted LB, just curious on your thoughts on him, thanks and keep up the great writing.
Mike Sando: The 49ers appear to be in the market for a more traditional fullback. They used tight end Sean Ryan as the fullback in the I-formation a fair amount last season. New offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye will presumably want a true fullback, not a converted linebacker (Keasey) or converted tight end (Ryan). Raye worked with one of the NFL's most enduring true fullbacks, Tony Richardson, while with the Jets.