How I See It: NFC West Stock Watch

March, 18, 2010
3/18/10
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Falling

Starting quarterbacks. Expect the Seahawks, Cardinals and 49ers to say good things about their starting quarterbacks this offseason. But also understand that Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Leinart and Alex Smith face increased competition after their teams acquired Charlie Whitehurst, Derek Anderson and David Carr. Hasselbeck and Smith are entering the final year of their contracts. Leinart's contract balloons in value after the upcoming season, so his future will need to be addressed as well. In each case, these teams have taken steps to protect themselves at the most important position. It doesn't mean their current starters are on their way out. It does mean the current starters need to be looking over their shoulders.

Rising

Backup quarterbacks. Whitehurst, Anderson and Carr all have contracts for the 2011 season. That is more than their teams' starters can say (Leinart's deal does extend to 2011, but the Cardinals will likely have to rework it or release him after the 2010 season). What the Seahawks paid for Whitehurst says they want him to become their starter for the 2011 season, or possibly sooner. Hasselbeck's recent injury problems -- nine games missed in 2008, followed by an injury-altered season in 2009 -- put Whitehurst in good position to claim playing time this season. Anderson and Carr have played more extensively than the starters ahead of them. Anderson could need some decompression time after a rough run in Cleveland. Carr has already had time to regroup. He played relatively well in spot duty for the Giants.

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