Around the NFC West: Peppers and the 49ers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee raises an intriguing potential option for the 49ers as they think about upgrading their pass rush. The idea itself -- trading for the Panthers' Julius Peppers -- is hardly new. Fans have been talking about it for months. But the way Barrows sees things, the idea might make more sense after the 49ers and Panthers worked out a trade during the draft, with Carolina using the 49ers' second-round choice to draft a pass rusher. Barrows: "What will it take to pry Peppers from the Panthers? Probably a first-round pick coupled with some combination of other draft picks and/or players. The Panthers don't have a first rounder next year because of their trade with the 49ers. The 49ers, meanwhile, have two first rounders. Could they give one of them right back to Carolina for Peppers? Like I said, it makes an awful lot of sense."

David Fucillo of Niners Nation sizes up the situation at receiver for the 49ers. I'll touch on this in a mailbag item later Thursday morning. One thing to note in relation to Dominique Zeigler: He was active for fewer than nine games during his one accrued season. As a result, Zeigler remains eligible for the practice squad.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says doctors removed bone chips from Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney's elbow. Kerney, who already underwent shoulder surgery since landing on injured reserve last season, is expected back in time for training camp. Kerney wasn't expected back until then anyway. Expect the Seahawks to proceed with caution on Kerney. The elbow procedure likely wasn't significant, but another shoulder injury requiring surgery would raise serious questions about his viability as a highly paid pass rusher.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have too many holes to patch them all at once. Miklasz: "It's going to take a long time for general manager Billy Devaney to fix the problems and restore the talent base. Devaney is basically a rookie GM. The Rams also have a rookie head coach in Steve Spagnuolo, who seems awfully uptight as he tries to grow into the top job. These are capable football men, but they've never run a franchise before. So I have to factor that in. I can't expect Devaney and Spagnuolo to solve everything right away. They're still finding their way. And I'm trying to remind myself of that."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't think the Rams have found an adequate No. 2 back to complement Steven Jackson.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says there's confusion over whether Cardinals cornerback Rod Hood met incentives that would have inflated his salary for 2009. Hood needed to play 70 percent of the defensive snaps to qualify, according to Somers. My sources say Hood played about 68 percent of the defensive snaps last season.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Clark Haggans is a projected starting linebacker for the Cardinals. Urban: "By the way, with 82 guys on the roster -- two extra, but they can carry unsigned draftees and not have them 'officially' count against the 80-man roster -- I don't forecast many extra guys anytime soon. I am sure after watching the players in a minicamp there is a chance to make some moves, but for now, there likely is no plan to bring in extra backup inside linebackers or backup centers."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals have between $5.3 million and $5.4 million in salary-cap space.