NFC West thoughts as NFL free agency runs through its second day:
The Seattle Seahawks' free-agent visit with Steve Hutchinson calls attention to the team's situation at left guard. Robert Gallery's $5 million salary and $1.5 million bonus represent a steep price. If the Seahawks are going to pay $6.5 million for a left guard in 2012, Hutchinson would appear to be the better value. Re-signing Paul McQuistan for depth at guard and tackle could also make sense.
Free-agent quarterback Chad Henne canceled his visit to the Seahawks after reaching an agreement on a contract with Jacksonville. Seattle still plans to meet with Matt Flynn, but the team has proven it will show restraint at the position when dealing with unproven prospects. That was the case last offseason when Seattle resisted acquiring Kevin Kolb. Flynn fits into a similar category.
The San Francisco 49ers continue to consider a long list of options at wide receiver. Brandon Lloyd, Chaz Schilens and Mario Manningham are possibilities. Eddie Royal could become an option as well, Matt Barrows reports. The 49ers obviously hope to cover themselves at the position in free agency, taking off pressure to target any one position early in the draft.
Former 49ers guard/tackle/center Adam Snyder gives the Cardinals improved depth on their offensive line. Losing him can be a positive for the 49ers if it forces them to seek an upgrade at the position. Veteran players such as Snyder are easy to coach. Sometimes teams get comfortable with them at the expense of upgrading. The 49ers came out OK last offseason after losing center David Baas to the Giants.
The Seahawks and St. Louis Rams both have interest in former Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jason Jones. Jones struggled at defensive end last season. He would play tackle with the Rams or Seahawks. St. Louis has the greater need. Seattle could use Jones as depth behind Red Bryant and as an inside pass-rusher.
Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne plans to visit New Orleans. The Saints should know him well. Hawthorne had a combined 21 tackles and one interception against New Orleans in two games during the 2010 season (one in postseason). He faced the Rams six times when new Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was head coach in St. Louis. Hawthorne is an NFL success story as an undrafted free agent-turned-starter. Seattle needs help at linebacker whether or not Hawthorne returns. K.J. Wright can move from the strong side to the middle if needed.
The Cardinals remain largely in a holding pattern while awaiting a decision from Peyton Manning. Other veteran free-agent quarterbacks are signing deals around the league. That's no big deal for Arizona if the Cardinals are comfortable paying a $7 million bonus to keep Kolb. But if Manning signs elsewhere and Arizona wants to sign a cheaper alternative to Kolb, the pickings could be slim. Matt Hasselbeck comes to mind if Manning lands in Tennessee.
Thanks for coming along.