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Around the NFC West: Rams offseason options

2/10/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ranks offensive tackle as the Rams' top need this offseason. He's getting the feeling Orlando Pace will not be back. Thomas also gets the feeling Torry Holt is finished in St. Louis.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the Rams' negotiations with Oshiomogho Atogwe and Ron Bartell are expected to accelerate later this week. Wagoner: "For salary cap purposes -- the Rams are believed to have around $14 million in cap space -- tagging Atogwe would be more beneficial than Bartell. The franchise number for a safety is about $6.3 million while the number for a cornerback is almost $10 million."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat explains why he expects the 49ers to release tackle Jonas Jennings. Jennings' base salary exceeds the combined base salaries for the team's five projected starters. That wouldn't be an issue if Jennings had proved more reliable. Injuries and inconsistent play have made him expendable. Maiocco: "When the 49ers officially release Jennings, it will come as no surprise. Jennings said in training camp he did not know if he would be back with the 49ers for the 2008 season after playing in just five games in 2007. When he returned last season, he was moved from left tackle to right tackle."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' search for new coordinators appears to be starting with in-house candidates. He has not confirmed Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler as a candidate to become defensive coordinator.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com takes a player-by-player look at the Cardinals' roster. He expects Antonio Smith to sign for more money elsewhere, with Calais Campbell possibly replacing Smith in the lineup.

Also from Urban: He expects the Cardinals to make a contract offer to Kurt Warner soon.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind takes an in-depth look at the Cardinals' cornerbacks. I do think Arizona could use another starting-caliber player in coverage. Teams too often found the weak link in the Cardinals' secondary.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer summarizes Mike Mayock's thoughts on what the Seahawks might do with the fourth overall draft choice. Mayock expects receiver Michael Crabtree to be available when Seattle picks.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune takes a closer look at the Seattle coaches' plans on defense. They want players to know their teammates' responsibilities on each play. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley: "We're going to really tax our players mentally. They've got to understand, if we're in a cover 2 or a cover 4 or an eight-man front, what the d-line is playing, how the linebackers are playing it, and how the secondary is going to play it."