Around the NFC West: Hawks, 49ers to go slowly
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the Seahawks will not be big players in the early stages of free agency, according to general manager Tim Ruskell. Farnsworth: "[Leroy] Hill was priority No. 1. But the Seahawks won't be as free-spending when it comes to the others -- a group of 16 that includes fullback Leonard Weaver, offensive linemen Floyd Womack and Ray Willis, wide receiver Bobby Engram, linebacker D.D. Lewis and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard." Willis could appeal to the Redskins, who need a physical right tackle to replace Jon Jansen.
Also from Farnsworth: Honesty is the best policy for the Seahawks' new defensive staff.
Rob Staton of Seahawks Draft Blog passes along updated information from the mock drafts of Rob Rang and Chad Reuter. Rang still has the Seahawks taking receiver Michael Crabtree. Reuter has changed his forecast to Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe.
Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts thinks an increased salary cap will help the Seahawks. He also lists Kelly Jennings among players he might consider releasing. Releasing Jennings would actually cost the Seahawks slightly more against the cap than if he were to remain on the roster.
John Morgan of Field Gulls wonders how long Seahawks center Chris Spencer might last in the draft if he were coming out of college in 2009. Seattle selected Spencer in the first round of the 2005 draft, Tim Ruskell's first with the team. Morgan: "Spencer finally showed some life in 2008. He can still be great if injuries haven't taken the edge off his power and athleticism, but the time to prove that in Seattle blue is ending."
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch holds up Drew Bennett's signing as the signature move for the Rams' previous front-office regime. He questions whether the Rams could quickly replace Orlando Pace and Torry Holt if the team released them. Also: "The old regime made another titanic gaffe by failing to secure a contract extension with the emerging cornerback, Ron Bartell. He will probably command elite (and possibly insane) dollars on the free-agent market, and the Rams could have gotten Bartell for a lower price had they acted sooner."
Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 says the expected addition of former 49ers special-teamer Keith Lewis is consistent with other mid-level acquisitions in Arizona. The Cardinals have also signed defensive end Jason Banks, running back Chris Vincent and tight end Alex Shor.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Lewis' expected signing is a surprise because the Cardinals have depth at safety. I would see Lewis as more of a special-teams contributor. Somers also notes that the Cardinals' college scouts are in the final year of their contracts.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat expects the 49ers to take things slowly when free agency opens Thursday night at 9 p.m. PT. Maiocco: "The 49ers have compiled a list of 10 to 15 free agents to target, but the club plans to move much slower at the start of free agency to let the market settle down, one league source said." Team president Jed York: "You're always overpaying in free agency when you get that first-day guy. What we want to do is make sure we're building through the draft. And if we're going to spend a lot of money it's going to be on re-signing our own players and getting the right guys, as opposed to big flashy guys."
Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com says the Dolphins have agreed to terms with former Raiders safety Gibril Wilson, a player some NFC West fans -- particularly 49ers fans -- had asked about for their teams.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider thinks the 2009 draft sets up nicely for the 49ers because they need outside linebackers, running backs and fast receivers.
1:00 PM ET Cleveland Baltimore 1:00 PM ET Dallas Washington 1:00 PM ET Indianapolis Tennessee 1:00 PM ET Jacksonville Houston 1:00 PM ET San Diego Kansas City 1:00 PM ET New York Miami 1:00 PM ET Chicago Minnesota 1:00 PM ET Buffalo New England 1:00 PM ET Philadelphia New York 1:00 PM ET New Orleans Tampa Bay 4:25 PM ET Carolina Atlanta 4:25 PM ET Detroit Green Bay 4:25 PM ET Oakland Denver 4:25 PM ET Arizona San Francisco 4:25 PM ET St. Louis Seattle 8:30 PM ET Cincinnati Pittsburgh