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Mailbag: Cardinals less beholden to Boldin

2/15/2009

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.


Bronson from East Helena, Mont., writes: When you were in the Northwest, did you cover or watch any of Dashon Goldson at UW?? What are your thoughts on him becoming a starter if the Niners don't bring someone in at safety?

Mike Sando: I did not cover him or watch him at the University of Washington. Goldson would seem to possess the skills a strong coverage safety would need. He played cornerback in college and seems to be athletic. Niners general manager Scot McCloughan seemed optimistic when I asked him about Goldson heading into last season, but the changeover from Mark Roman to Goldson never happened and I have no indication Goldson will suddenly become a productive starter. This coming season would seem to be pivotal for him.


Brian from Missoula, Mont., writes: Hey Mike, Great job on the blog, I'm sure your aware of it but you have an awesome occupation. Any idea on the Seahawks backup QB situation going forward? Does the team re-signs Charlie Frye? Do you think the Mora regime will move Seneca to wideout? Or will they address the position in the draft? Thanks again Mike!
Mike Sando: I'll be a little surprised if Frye returns to the team for this coming season. The Seahawks came close to replacing him with a younger prospect last offseason. They will presumably bring in a developmental quarterback through the draft.

I know of no plans to convert Wallace to receiver. My expectation would be for Wallace to remain in his current role. Greg Knapp suggested they might design some offensive packages for him as a quarterback, too. I suppose Wallace could make a conversion if the Seahawks drafted a quarterback early enough.


Pablo from Dallas writes: If Sanchez or Stafford are still on the board for the Niners at #10, which teams would be interested in trading up and what possible packages could we get. As a Niner fan i'm still hoping Smith makes comeback or feel we could do w/out stud qb for one more year. but if Stafford who is #1 on many mock drafts and Sanchez are available, wouldn't teams like the Jets, Bears, Lions, Bucs or Vikings be willing to get a "franchise" qb without paying the big bucks for him?

Mike Sando: Great question. I do not have a great answer. Depending on which draft value chart you consult, the 10th overall choice could be worth, say, the 16th and 60th choices. I do not know for sure how much some of those teams you mentioned would value those quarterbacks.


Ryan from Denton writes: Hey Mike, I was wondering about the current situation with the Rams and their tight cap dilemma. If they end up letting Holt go, or even if they don't considering he doesn't have too many years left, what are the odds of the Rams trying to grab a late-round sleeper at WR like Ramses Barden, 6-6 227 pounds.
I've heard a lot of good things about him and I was wondering if you think they could grab him and turn him into their go-to receiver ... he certainly has the build to make it in the NFL. Thanks again for your insight.

Mike Sando: The Rams have a first-time general manager in Billy Devaney and a first-time head coach in Steve Spagnuolo. As a result, it's tougher to figure out how they might proceed based on their histories. Devaney did spend the 1990s in San Diego under Bobby Beathard, and he counts Beathard as a mentor. The Chargers never drafted a receiver in the first round from 1990 through 2000.

The receivers they drafted, with year and round listed first, during that time:

1990: Walter Wilson (3), Nate Lewis (7), Elliott Searcy (12)

1991: Yancey Thigpen (4), Joachim Weinberg (11)

1992: Ray Ethridge (3), Johnnie Barnes (9)

1993: Walter Dunson (5)

1994: Andre Coleman (3)

1995: Jimmy Oliver (2), Omar Ellison (5), Brandon Harrison (6)

1996: Bryan Still (2), Charlie Jones (4)

1998: Kio Sanford (7)

2000: Trevor Gaylor (4)

The Chargers did draft Mikhael Ricks in the second round of the 1998 draft. He was listed as a tight end, but he did play receiver. I'll hopefully have a chance to speak with Devaney and Spagnuolo at the scouting combine this coming week.