NFC West: Woody Johnson

Thoughts on the recent Orange County Register story mentioning the St. Louis Rams as a potential candidate for relocation to Los Angeles:

  • Having Los Angeles as a potential option gives the Rams leverage with St. Louis as they seek an improved stadium situation for the long term. In response to the Register's story, the Rams told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch they remain "focused on working on a lease" with St. Louis. The Rams have not said anything that would limit their options or diminish their leverage, however.
  • The leader of the Los Angeles group, Philip Anschutz, is reportedly "prepared" to acquire a majority ownership stake in a team for the purposes of bringing it to Southern California. I doubt the Rams' new majority owner, Stan Kroenke, would be looking to sell the team so shortly after buying out former majority owner Chip Rosenbloom. He could always try to move the team on his own if he could get a better stadium deal elsewhere.
  • The Register's story says the Los Angeles group has "spoken" with five current NFL teams, including the Rams. Anschutz's group likely initiated the discussions with Minnesota, San Diego, Oakland, Jacksonville and the Rams. There is nothing to suggest the Rams are pursuing a move. But Kroenke has no reason to discourage Los Angeles' interest, either.
  • The Rams' lease with the Edward Jones Dome gives them an out after the 2014 season. The Los Angeles group hopes to have its stadium ready for the 2016 season.
  • Kroenke should be fully versed on the situation in Los Angeles. As of March 2010, the NFL lists him as part of its eight-member Los Angeles Stadium Working Group. The others: Jeffrey Lurie (chairman), Pat Bowlen, Woody Johnson, Jerry Jones, Bob McNair, Steve Ross and Steve Tisch.

These sorts of stories aren't going away until the NFL has a team in Los Angeles. The Rams will remain a perceived candidate to move there until their own stadium situation firms up. For the time being, however, nothing appears to have changed.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Nancy Gay of the San Francisco Chronicle lays out priorities for Mike Singletary and the 49ers. They include drafting a right tackle at No. 10, drafting a pass rusher thereafter and signing Amani Toomer to replace Isaac Bruce.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says the 49ers can thank Kwame Harris, among others, for helping them land compensatory draft choices in the fifth and seventh rounds. Leading sacker Parys Haralson was a fifth-round pick.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein came out a big winner through the NFL's performance-based pay pool, nearly doubling his 2008 salary. I'll take a closer look at these figures for each NFC West team at some point here.

Also from Somers: Might the Cardinals be candidates for the "Hard Knocks" show on HBO? Just what Arizona needs, more drama.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says pass rusher Bertrand Berry will receive $1 million base salary for the 2009 season, same as he earned in 2008.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Jets coach Rex Ryan to find out how close the Rams came to hiring the former Ravens assistant. Ryan said he had a "really nice" interview with Rams general manager Billy Devaney, but he never got the feeling Rams ownership had a serious interest. The Jets left little doubt. Ryan: "I felt [Jets owner] Woody Johnson chose me as well, and that was important to me."

VanRam of Turf Show Times thinks the Rams might be best off drafting Aaron Curry with the second overall choice, then finding help for their offensive line later.

Doug Farrar of Football Outsiders takes a closer look at Curry through a two-part interview. Second part is here.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with former Seahawks fullback Leonard Weaver, who still has plenty to say. Weaver: "I felt like if they wanted me to come back to the organization, they would have put me in contact with someone involved in the offense, or somebody who's looking and saying, 'Hey, we maybe would want to use this guy in this offense.' But nobody did, so I kind of felt like, 'OK, at least I know where I stand in terms of what direction they want to go.'" The reality is that Weaver is a fullback and NFL teams don't value fullbacks the way they value other positions.

Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts takes a look at defensive back Sean Smith as a potential Seahawks draft choice.

Ed Thompson of Scout.com says the Seahawks apparently have interest in defensive back Don Carey, who plans to visit team headquarters April 14-15. 

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

DANA POINT, Calif. -- For theatrical points, the NFC West couldn't match the enduring visual Sunday as NFL power brokers arrived at the St. Regis Resort for the NFL owners' meetings.

New Browns coach Eric Mangini seemed to be enjoying his impromptu hotel lobby reunion with the people who recently fired him, namely Jets owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum. The smiles and handshakes certainly appeared genuine.

That's the thing about these annual spring meetings. The sun shines, the coastal breeze blows, the pace slows and the overall atmosphere invites a collective exhale. 

I've already seen 49ers owner John York, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Seahawks coach Jim Mora, Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke and Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo.

The names get bigger as the evening unfolds. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a longtime NFL fan, is scheduled to speak at a reception set for 5:30 p.m. PT. Nothing ever came of reports linking Rice to the 49ers, but she will have a presence at these meetings.

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