Thursday, March 15, 2012
2012 free agency: Notes from third day
By Mike Sando
Lots of little things to cover while waiting for Peyton Manning to choose his next employer:
- The market for Matt Flynn appears flat ... unless the Miami Dolphins are willing to drive up the price for him. ESPN's Adam Schefter expects that to happen, suggesting that the Dolphins realize they're probably not going to land Manning. Flynn is visiting the Seattle Seahawks and now has a visit lined up for Miami. If he gets starting money, expect it to be from the Dolphins.
- Carolina guard Travelle Wharton, Philadelphia receiver Steve Smith and Green Bay center Scott Wells were among the free agents visiting with the Rams on Thursday, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
- The Rams are only getting started. By my accounting, they had a league-low 48 players on their roster Thursday, counting restricted free agents and franchise players. They are the youngest team in the NFL at present, but that will change as they fill out their roster with a mix of veterans and draft choices. Seattle is threatening the Rams to field the NFL's youngest roster after releasing veteran guard Robert Gallery and not signing 34-year-old Steve Hutchinson.
- The Rams and Seahawks appear to be primary suitors for former Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jason Jones. St. Louis should have the advantage with Jones' former coach in Tennessee, Jeff Fisher, now in St. Louis. The Rams could also offer more playing time, at least as their roster sets up presently.
- Mario Manningham, who spent Thursday visiting San Francisco, was a natural candidate for the 49ers. The team needs a receiver. Manningham is one of the better free agents out there. He also went to Michigan, which never hurts as long as Jim Harbaugh is coaching the 49ers. The first veteran free-agent wideout the 49ers signed during the Harbaugh era also played there. Braylon Edwards was a Michigan man, as was his father. Edwards and Randy Moss are the only veteran free-agent receivers to sign with San Francisco under Harbaugh.
- The receivers with whom San Francisco has visited -- Manningham, Brandon Lloyd and Chaz Schilens -- fit different molds. That makes it tough to say for sure what the 49ers are looking for specifically. The team appears to be in no rush. Manningham left without a deal, no surprise.
- Whether Ted Ginn Jr. leaves in free agency could affect the 49ers' thinking, too. Schilens might fill some of the void left when Josh Morgan, another wideout with good size, left for Washington. Lloyd could make more sense as a downfield threat if Ginn isn't in the 49ers' plans. Manningham has good quickness. Like Lloyd, he's slighter than Morgan or Schilens.
- It's looking like the Arizona Cardinals will bring back tackle Levi Brown, Kent Somers reports. That is good for the Cardinals, who need tackles, but not necessarily bad news for opposing pass-rushers, either.
- Hutchinson's deal with Tennessee is expected to pay him a $6.5 million guarantee. There's some history behind that number. Titans executive Mike Reinfeldt was with the Seahawks when the team lost Hutchinson to Minnesota in 2006. Back then, the Seahawks used the transition tag for Hutchinson, setting his one-year value at $6.391 million. Seattle was offering a $6.5 million average on a long-term deal at the time. Reinfeldt wound up getting Hutchinson for the $6.5 million price, albeit six years later and multiple time zones away. That won't do the Seahawks any good.
- The Cardinals have less than 24 hours before a decision on a $7 million bonus to Kevin Kolb comes due. If Manning doesn't make a decision by then, will he at least tip off the Cardinals if he's leaning toward Denver or Tennessee? That would help, but sometimes the teams themselves are the last ones to know when they're out of the running.
Enjoy your Thursday. I'm sure we're not finished for the day.