NFL Nation: Brandon Frye

Final Word: NFC West

October, 22, 2010
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about the NFC West in Week 7:

1. Look, over here, a marquee matchup. Three NFL games this week feature two teams with winning records. One of them, Arizona at Seattle, takes place right here in the NFC West. Don't tell anyone, though. Let's keep the focus on the truly attractive matchups. Much of the country's television audience gets Washington at Chicago in the early game, and who wouldn't want to watch teams with a combined 0-2 record against St. Louis and Seattle? Don't forget to watch New England's game against San Diego later in the day. Hey, the Chargers did keep the final score close against the Rams after falling behind 17-0 by halftime. OK, enough provincial sarcasm for one blog entry. Time to charge forward with a straighter face.

Russell Okung
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesRookie Russell Okung has solidified the left tackle position for the Seahawks.
2. The Seahawks have a left tackle. Russell Okung is his name. Unlike four of the left tackles Seattle either used or wanted to use last season, Okung remains employed by an NFL team. Okung's presence in the lineup against Arizona spares the Seahawks from the nightmare that befell them against the Cardinals about this time last season. Seattle's projected starting left tackle for 2009, Walter Jones, was unavailable and headed for retirement. Sean Locklear and Brandon Frye had taken turns manning the left tackle spot early in the season, but injuries forced Kyle Williams into the lineup for the Arizona game. Calais Campbell had 1.5 sacks for the Cardinals in that game and Seattle's offense struggled to function. The Seahawks would later use Damion McIntosh as their starter at the position. Jones, Frye, Williams and McIntosh are out of the league.

3. Steven Jackson, for the record. The Rams' Pro Bowl running back needs 32 yards to pass Eric Dickerson as the franchise rushing leader. Seven players have rushed for at least 32 yards in a game against Week 7 opponent Tampa Bay this season: New Orleans' Chris Ivory (158), Cincinnati's Cedric Benson (144), Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall (143), Carolina's DeAngelo Williams (54), Cleveland's Jerome Harrison (52), Carolina's Jonathan Stewart (43) and Cleveland's Peyton Hillis (41). The Steelers' Isaac Redman came close with 31 yards. In other words, Jackson gets the record one way or another unless he suffers an injury.

4. The 49ers' formula. Alex Smith has thrown a league-high nine interceptions this season, but he tossed none last week against Oakland in the 49ers' first victory of the season. Week 7 opponent Carolina lags in just about every statistical category, but the winless Panthers' defense has picked off nine passes, tied for fourth most in the league. Related note: The Rams' Sam Bradford has thrown eight interceptions, tied for second most in the league, and the Bucs' defense has picked off 10, one fewer pass than league-leading Atlanta has intercepted.

5. Rookie Qwest. The Cardinals' Max Hall becomes the fifth rookie quarterback to start a game against Seattle at Qwest Field. The previous four -- Josh Freeman (2009), Matthew Stafford (2009), Troy Smith (2007) and Alex Smith (2005) -- posted a 1-3 record and combined 57.7 passer rating. Freeman was most impressive, completing 16 of 26 passes for 205 yards, two touchdowns and a 95.8 rating during a 24-7 Bucs victory. Stafford tossed five picks. The two Smiths, Troy and Alex, led offenses that combined for nine points.

Definitive look at NFC West turnover

September, 8, 2010
Roster turnover is a leading topic for discussion in Seattle following the release of T.J. Houshmandzadeh in particular.

I've addressed the subject in depth across the division -- first May 26 and again July 30 -- and it's worth another look now that teams have reduced to 53 players for the regular season.

This time, I'm going to break down the changes by position, listing players no longer on the active roster at each main position group (with new players in parenthesis). Departures outnumber replacements because some players finished last season on injured reserve, meaning they were not part of the 53-man roster.

Some players no longer on the active roster remain with the team (they could be suspended, deemed physically unable to perform or part of the practice squad).

St. Louis Rams (34 off roster)

Defensive back: Eric Bassey, Quincy Butler, Danny Gorrer, Clinton Hart, Cordelius Parks, David Roach, Jonathan Wade (added Kevin Dockery, Jerome Murphy, Darian Stewart)

Defensive line: Victor Adeyanju, Adam Carriker, Leger Douzable, Leonard Little, LaJuan Ramsey, James Wyche (added Jermelle Cudjo, Fred Robbins, George Selvie, Eugene Sims)

Linebacker: K.C. Asiodu, Paris Lenon (added Na'il Diggs, Josh Hull)

Offensive line: Roger Allen, Alex Barron, Ryan McKee, Mark Setterstrom, Phillip Trautwein, Eric Young (added Renardo Foster, Hank Fraley, Rodger Saffold)

Quarterback: Kyle Boller, Marc Bulger, Keith Null, Mike Reilly (added Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, Thaddeus Lewis)

Running back: Samkon Gado, Chris Ogbonnaya (added Keith Toston)

Special teams: Ryan Neill

Tight end: Randy McMichael (added Mike Hoomanawanui, Fendi Onobun)

Wide receiver: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Brooks Foster, Jordan Kent, Ruvell Martin (added Mark Clayton, Dominique Curry, Mardy Gilyard)

Seattle Seahawks (33 off roster)

Defensive back: Jamar Adams, Deon Grant, Ken Lucas, Josh Wilson (added Kam Chancellor, Kennard Cox, Nate Ness, Earl Thomas, Walter Thurmond)

Defensive line: Lawrence Jackson, Patrick Kerney, Cory Redding, Nick Reed, Darryl Tapp, Craig Terrill (added Kentwan Balmer, Raheem Brock, Chris Clemons, Dexter Davis, Junior Siavii, E.J. Wilson)

Linebacker: Leroy Hill, Lance Laury, D.D. Lewis (added Matt McCoy; note that Hill is suspended for the first regular-season game)

Offensive line: Trevor Canfield, Brandon Frye, Walter Jones, Damion McIntosh, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto (added Stacy Andrews, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Ben Hamilton, Russell Okung, Chester Pitts, Tyler Polumbus)

Quarterback: Mike Teel, Seneca Wallace (added Charlie Whitehurst)

Running back: Justin Griffith, Louis Rankin, Tyler Roehl, Owen Schmitt (added Quinton Ganther, Michael Robinson, Leon Washington)

Special teams: Kevin Houser, Jeff Robinson (added Clint Gresham)

Tight end: John Owens (added Chris Baker, Anthony McCoy)

Wide receiver: Nate Burleson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (added Golden Tate, Mike Williams)

Arizona Cardinals (24 off roster)

Defensive backs: Ralph Brown, Bryant McFadden, Antrel Rolle (added A.J. Jefferson, Trumaine McBride, Brandon McDonald, Kerry Rhodes)

Defensive line: Jason Banks (added Dan Williams)

Linebacker: Monty Beisel, Bertrand Berry, Cody Brown, Karlos Dansby, Gerald Hayes, Chike Okeafor, Pago Togafau (added Paris Lenon, Cyril Obiozor, Joey Porter, Daryl Washington; Hayes can return from the physically unable to perform list after six games)

Offensive line: Mike Gandy, Herman Johnson, Reggie Wells (added Alan Faneca, Rex Hadnot)

Quarterback: Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre, Kurt Warner (added Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton)

Running back: Justin Green, Dan Kreider (added Jerome Johnson)

Special teams: Neil Rackers (added Jay Feely)

Tight end: Anthony Becht (added Jim Dray)

Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin, Sean Morey, Jerheme Urban (added Andre Roberts, Stephen Williams)

San Francisco 49ers (24 off roster)

Defensive backs: Dre' Bly, Walt Harris, Marcus Hudson, Mark Roman (added Phillip Adams, Tramaine Brock, William James, Taylor Mays)

Defensive line: Kentwan Balmer, Derek Walker

Linebacker: Scott McKillop, Jeff Ulbrich, Matt Wilhelm (added NaVorro Bowman, Travis LaBoy)

Offensive line: Tony Pashos, Chris Patrick, Cody Wallace (added Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati)

Quarterback: Nate Davis, Shaun Hill (added David Carr, Troy Smith)

Running back: Thomas Clayton, Glen Coffee, Brit Miller, Michael Robinson (added Anthony Dixon, Brian Westbrook)

Special teams: Shane Andrus, Ricky Schmitt

Wide receiver: Arnaz Battle, Isaac Bruce, Jason Hill, Brandon Jones (added Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, Dominique Zeigler)

The first chart shows how many players are back -- at least for now -- from Week 17 rosters and injured reserve lists. Seattle has the fewest number back with 26.

The second chart shows how many players each team has shed since Week 17 last season. This counts players who were on injured reserve. Teams with lots of players on injured reserve had more players to lose.

Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Leonard Little, Jerheme Urban, Dre' Bly, Owen Schmitt, Josh Wilson, Mike Teel, William James, Justin Green, Raheem Brock, Derek Anderson, Walt Harris, Tony Pashos, Darryl Tapp, Sam Bradford, Mark Roman, Dan Kreider, David Carr, Ralph Brown, Lawrence Jackson, Isaac Bruce, Charlie Whitehurst, Chris Clemons, Shaun HIll, Junior Siavii, Leroy Hill, Kevin Dockery, Matt Leinart, Chike Okeafor, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rex Hadnot, Brian Westbrook, Bertrand Berry, Dominique Zeigler, Eric Bassey, Eric Young, D.D. Lewis, Nick Reed, Brandon McDonald, Nate Burleson, Alex Barron, Ryan Neill, Samkon Gado, Kyle Boller, Brit Miller, Patrick Kerney, Clinton Hart, Quincy Butler, Michael Robinson, Arnaz Battle, Ray Willis, Leger Douzable, Jerome Johnson, Trumaine McBride, Glen Coffee, Brooks Foster, Monty Beisel, Renardo Foster, Mansfield Wrotto, Ken Lucas, Shane Andrus, Donnie Avery, Karlos Dansby, Alex Boone, Marcus Hudson, Leon Washington, Troy Smith, Adam Carriker, Cody Brown, Kurt Warner, Cordelius Parks, Jeff Ulbrich, Chris Ogbonnaya, Neil Rackers, Pago Togafau, Scott McKillop, Randy McMichael, Kentwan Balmer, Lance Laury, Sean Morey, Mike Gandy, Mike Reilly, Brian St. Pierre, Ruvell Martin, Mark Clayton, Ben Hamilton, Anquan Boldin, Marc Bulger, Mike Hass, Nate Davis, Chester Pitts, Cory Redding, Antrel Rolle, Matt McCoy, Brandon Jones, Alan Faneca, Chris Baker, Anthony Davis, Keenan Burton, Hank Fraley, Joey Porter, David Roach, Phillip Trautwein, Tyler Roehl, Jason Hill, Taylor Mays, Mark Setterstrom, Travis LaBoy, A.J. Feeley, Brandon Frye, Craig Terrill, Keith Null, Jay Feely, Cody Wallace, K.C. Asiodu, Jordan Kent, Kyle Williams, Quinton Ganther, Stacy Andrews, James Wyche, Reggie Wells, Victor Adeyanju, Jonathan Wade, Seneca Wallace, Thomas Clayton, Paris Lenon, Deon Grant, Kerry Rhodes, Fred Robbins, John Owens, Bryant McFadden, Matt Wilhelm, Steve Vallos, Gerald Hayes, Jeff Robinson, Herman Johnson, Walter Jones, Mike Williams, Justin Griffith, Jason Banks, Rob Sims, Jamar Adams, Anthony Becht, Na\'il Diggs, Damion McIntosh, Tyler Polumbus, Derek Walker, Louis Rankin, Nate Ness, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Cyril Obiozor, Mike Iupati, Kevin Houser, Dan Williams, Russell Okung, Golden Tate, Anthony Dixon, Anthony McCoy, Mardy Gilyard, Earl Thomas, A.J. Jefferson, Kennard Cox, Andre Roberts, Walter Thurmond, Rodger Saffold, George Selvie, Daryl Washington, Jerome Murphy, Navorro Bowman, E.J. Wilson, Mike Hoomanawanui, John Skelton, Nate Byham, Eugene Sims, Jermelle Cudjo, Ricky Schmitt, Dominique Curry, Fendi Onobun, Kam Chancellor, Dexter Davis, Jim Dray, Josh Hull, Phillip Adams, Max Komar, Stephen Williams, Thaddeus Lewis, Max Hall, Chris Patrick, Clint Gresham, Danny Gorrer, Darian Stewart, Keith Toston, LaJuan Ramsey, Roger III Allen, Ryan McKee, Ted Jr. Ginn, Tramaine Brock, Trevor Canfield

Initial reports suggested Russell Okung's ankle injury wasn't the more serious "high" variety, but we're talking about the hard-luck Seattle Seahawks, so of course it ended up being just that.

Injuries seem to wind up being worse than anticipated for Seattle. That was the case with Walter Jones and Matt Hasselbeck in past seasons, and it was the case on a lesser scale Tuesday with Okung and second-year pass-rusher Nick Reed. Reed, seen limping toward the locker room after the Seahawks' game Saturday, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. Linebacker David Hawthorne, scheduled to start the opener while Leroy Hill serves a suspension, is also hurting and was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam for an injury the team did not disclose.

Okung's high sprain wasn't a particularly severe one, coach Pete Carroll noted, but it still wasn't clear whether the Seahawks would have their first-round draft choice and starting left tackle for the regular-season opener. High sprains are more serious than typical ones.

"When you asked the other night, I was hoping it wasn't (a high sprain), but it is, so we'll see how it works out," Carroll said Tuesday.

The Seahawks drafted Okung because they badly needed a front-line left tackle to protect Hasselbeck and the team's other quarterbacks. While two-plus weeks remain until the regular season, the team faces one of the NFL's best defensive fronts when visiting the Minnesota Vikings in its next exhibition game. Pro Bowl pass-rusher Jared Allen will be working against Okung's replacement, Mansfield Wrotto, when Hasselbeck is in the game.

Okung was extremely durable in college, making his injury after less than five quarters of NFL action all the more confounding. Seattle's run of bad luck with injuries has become a tiresome topic in recent seasons -- it's not the only reason the team has struggled, obviously -- but with Okung and backup right tackle Ray Willis out, and with veteran Chester Pitts trying to bounce back from a procedure similar to the one that ended Jones' career, tackle depth is a concern.

"With Ray (Willis) down, too, it’s about as bad as it could have hit at that spot," Carroll said.

It can get much worse, actually, as the Seahawks found out last season when they replaced Jone with Sean Locklear, Brandon Frye, Damion McIntosh and Kyle Williams.

Carroll said he was "going to hold out hope" that Okung would be ready for the regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, Mike Gibson will replace Ben Hamilton at left guard against the Vikings. He could stay there, I think, based on what we've seen from both players to this point.

On the radar: Surprise injuries

June, 24, 2010
NFC On the Radar: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.

A sore hip bothered Kurt Warner at Arizona Cardinals camp last summer. It wasn't a big deal.

[+] EnlargePatrick WIllis
Brett Davis/US PresswirePatrick Willis has already practiced after his offseason knee surgery and will seemingly be ready for training camp.
Two summers ago, the Seattle Seahawks downplayed Matt Hasselbeck's bad back because they didn't know the full extent of the problem. That one turned out to be more serious than expected.

Having the right feel for each injury situation can be tough. I'm sure a surprise injury or two will become a story after NFC West teams report for training camps in late July.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis (knee), St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (back), Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (knee) and Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (pectoral) are among the high-profile NFC West players coming off surgery rehabs. Their situations will bear monitoring.

The following players ended last season on injured reserve (some are no longer with NFC West teams):

Arizona Cardinals

Matt Ware, Mike Gandy, Justin Green, Cody Brown

San Francisco 49ers

Tony Pashos, Ricky Schmitt, Thomas Clayton, Jeff Ulbrich, Walt Harris, Kentwan Balmer, Curtis Taylor

Seattle Seahawks

Tyler Roehl, Walter Jones, Kevin Houser, Brandon Frye, Tatupu, Mike Hass

St. Louis Rams

Marc Bulger, Adam Carriker, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Eric Bassey, C.J. Ah You, Brooks Foster, Gary Gibson, Jacob Bell, Daniel Fells, Chris Massey, Bradley Fletcher, Laurent Robinson, Keenan Burton

Give me your 2010 POY candidates

May, 24, 2010
Nobody in the NFC West outplayed Steven Jackson last season, even though the Pro Bowl running back suffered through a 1-15 season for the St. Louis Rams.

The way Jackson ran during the final minutes of a 35-0 defeat at San Francisco -- violently, defiantly -- ranked among the more admirable individual efforts of the season.

Football is ultimately a team sport, but playing for a bad team can add impact to the performance of a great individual. Other times, it's the way an individual leads his team to victory that earns our acclaim.

Taking a cue from NFC North maestro Kevin Seifert, let's tackle a direct question: Who will be the NFC West's best player in 2010?

The big names in this division are well-established. Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Adrian Wilson, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and Darnell Dockett were named to the Pro Bowl last season. Frank Gore and Justin Smith were named as injury replacements. Alan Faneca, now with Arizona, represented the Jets on the AFC squad.

[+] EnlargeWells
Icon SMIBeanie Wells rushed for 793 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
I'll jump-start the conversation by listing five sleeper candidates (guys who have not been to a Pro Bowl recently, if at all):
1. Beanie Wells, Cardinals RB. Listing Wells in this spot guarantees I'll receive a mocking e-mail from Seifert stemming from our 2009 debate about whether Wells or the Vikings' Percy Harvin would prevail as rookie of the year. It's still not clear how many carries Wells will share with Tim Hightower, but multiple important factors point to a big year from Wells. The Cardinals should become less pass-happy without Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin. Their personnel almost assures more prominence for the ground game. Wells had 176 carries for 793 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Give him 300 carries and the other categories project to 1,351 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Arizona drafted Wells in the first round. Time to give him the ball.

2. Alex Smith, 49ers QB. Expect Smith to be much more comfortable now that he has a firmer grasp on the offensive system the 49ers installed before last season. A more comfortable quarterback tends to be a more productive one. The 49ers have promising weapons on offense. Smith has much to prove and he's finally in position to take the next step. It doesn't mean he'll succeed, but he's the perfect sleeper candidate now that Warner's retirement has removed the most productive passer from the equation.

3. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks QB. Two down seasons have made it easy to argue that Hasselbeck is pretty much finished at age 34. Take a closer look, though, and reasons for the decline are open for interpretation. Age has ranked well down the list of problems for Hasselbeck. The back injury that wrecked his 2008 season wasn't a problem in 2009. The damaged ribs Hasselbeck suffered at San Francisco in Week 2 last season affected his performance, but Hasselbeck had seven touchdown passes and two interceptions heading into a Week 6 game against Arizona. Everything fell apart for Hasselbeck that week when Seattle realized the difference between third-string left tackle Brandon Frye and fourth-stringer Kyle Williams. Give Hasselbeck a better line and he'll have a chance. This is also a contract year for Hasselbeck and the Seahawks brought in Charlie Whitehurst as competition.

4. Michael Crabtree, 49ers WR. Crabtree's performance after missing training camp and the first five games showed he has vast potential. It's early to consider him among the elite players in the division, but he outperformed expectations as a rookie (under the circumstances). Smith is commanding most of the attention at 49ers practices this offseason and that will continue because he's the key variable and most compelling figure. Crabtree could sneak up on people.

5. Matt Leinart, Cardinals QB. The Leinart haters will have a field day with his inclusion on this list. Some probably will miss the point that this is a sleeper list. They'll accuse me of listing Leinart fifth overall, ignoring the sleeper factor. The truth is that I had a hard time coming up with a fifth true sleeper candidate and I wasn't quite ready to list Seattle's Mike Williams. It's a little early to know whether the first-round bust will stay in shape, earn a roster spot and become more than just an offseason curiosity.

OK, my turn's up. Let's get this conversation started already. And if you see a sleeper defensive player worth including on the list, please do share. Joey Porter? Chris Long? Aaron Curry? I'm not seeing it.

Anatomy of a Gibbs-coached lineman

April, 1, 2010
The earlier item about Rob Sims' status led to a Facebook discussion featuring thoughts on Alex Gibbs' preferences for offensive linemen.

Gibbs is the line coach in Seattle and probably the most influential assistant in the NFC West as far as shaping draft priorities in 2010. That is partly because Gibbs is a high-profile coach. It's also because he demands a specific type of player for his scheme.

I've gone through every offensive lineman Gibbs' teams have drafted (download sortable list here). Patterns have emerged. I filtered out the years he spent in the league prior to 1995, his first with Denver, when analyzing player weights across specific positions. The thought was that player weights from the 1980s and even early 1990s might be outdated. Also, Gibbs might have been less influential early in his career, particularly when with the Raiders.

Since 1995, the players listed as guards averaged 289 pounds. Gibbs' teams drafted them in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds. The players listed as centers averaged 302 pounds. Gibbs' teams drafted them in the third, fifth and seventh rounds. The players listed as tackles averaged 313 pounds. Gibbs' teams drafted them in the first, fourth, fifth and seventh rounds.

The Facebook discussion brought to light a Florida State-related blog entry summarizing comments Gibbs made during a coaching video (extra credit for anyone who can find the video). The summary suggested Gibbs was most particular about centers, then guards, then tackles.

An inexperienced or less intelligent player would have a harder time starting right away at one of the interior positions. Look up scouting reports for Gibbs' interior linemen and they'll mention smarts and a lack of size. "Very, very smart and plays smart," the late Joel Buschbaum wrote about eventual Broncos draft choice Lennie Friedman in his 1999 report for Pro Football Weekly. "Average size, speed and physical tools."

Broncos guard Ben Hamilton, one of the free agents Seattle has considered this offseason, fits the description. Buschbaum summed up Hamilton this way in his 2001 preview: "Very smart and dedicated. ... Might be able to play guard or center for a team like the Broncos. ... Lacks great natural size and ability. Is a pumped-up 250-pounder."

Sims is much bigger and more powerful, which doesn't matter in a Gibbs blocking scheme.

Since Gibbs entered the NFL in 1984, his teams have drafted one offensive lineman among the top 20 overall choices -- 338-pound tackle George Foster, selected 20th in 2003 despite not really fitting the Gibbs mold. Gibbs' teams have held a dozen choices higher than 20th during that time. His teams have held 43 choices among the top 59 overall picks, using three of them for offensive linemen (all tackles).

Gibbs' teams have held 11 picks between the 60th and 77th slots. They used five of them for offensive linemen, all guards or centers, including Dan Neil and Will Shields. Seattle holds the 60th pick this year. Three of them were 6-foot-3, one was 6-2 and one was 6-4. That's another thing about the linemen on Gibbs' wish lists. The guards and centers aren't very tall.

It's a little tougher to project what kind of tackle Seattle might select. The Seahawks' need at the position could be great enough to justify taking the most talented player, with less regard for the things Gibbs demands from his interior offensive linemen. That might be a justification for projecting Trent Williams to Seattle at No. 6, as some have done lately.

Seahawks announce RFA tenders

March, 4, 2010
The Seahawks announced their restricted free-agent tenders as follows Thursday:

Ben Obomanu, Rob Sims, Chris Spencer and Darryl Tapp were tendered in their original draft rounds. That means the Seahawks would get a seventh-rounder for Obomanu, fourth-rounder for Sims, first-rounder for Spencer and second-rounder for Tapp if they declined to match offers from other teams for those players.

The team did not extend tenders to tackle Brandon Frye or linebacker Lance Laury. Linebacker David Hawthorne was tendered as an exclusive-rights free agent. He basically had no options.

I see no big surprises among these RFA tenders. The prices are relatively reasonable and none of the money is guaranteed.

NFC West: Free-agency primer

March, 3, 2010
Arizona Cardinals

Unrestricted free agents: TE Anthony Becht, LB Monty Beisel, LB Bertrand Berry (retired), LT Jeremy Bridges, CB Ralph Brown, LB Karlos Dansby, LT Mike Gandy, FB Dan Kreider, WR Sean Morey, LB Chike Okeafor, K Neil Rackers, NT Bryan Robinson, QB Brian St. Pierre, S Matt Ware.

Restricted free agents: SS Hamza Abdullah, WR Steve Breaston, G Ben Claxton, FB Justin Green, LG Deuce Lutui, TE Ben Patrick, TE Lyle Sendlein, TE Stephen Spach, WR Jerheme Urban, NT Gabe Watson.

Franchise player: none

What to expect: The Cardinals generally do not pursue marquee free agents from other teams. That trend figures to continue. The Cardinals have too many of their own free agents to re-sign for them to worry about chasing other teams' castoffs. We might see Arizona plug the roster with a few lower-tier free agents. They had success doing that last offseason, particularly with Becht at tight end. Dansby leads the list of 2009 starters expected to depart.

St. Louis Rams

Unrestricted free agents: QB Kyle Boller, DE James Hall, SS Clinton Hart, LB Paris Lenon, DE Leonard Little, LS Chris Massey, TE Randy McMichael.

Restricted free agents: S Eric Bassey, S Craig Dahl, TE Daniel Fells, LS Ryan Neill, DT Clifton Ryan, CB Jonathan Wade, DE Victory Adeyanju, FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, T Alex Barron, RB Sam Gado, DT Gary Gibson, WR Ruvell Martin, G Mark Setterstrom.

Franchise player: none

What to expect: The Rams could be in the market for a veteran quarterback such as Chad Pennington. Beyond quarterback, coach Steve Spagnuolo said the Rams could use a little more seasoning in the form of veteran role players. The Rams will remain a young team, but they could add some experience. The team parted with players fitting that profile last offseason, but most had inflated salaries. The ones St. Louis adds this year figure to carry lower price tags in most cases. The Rams have said they want Little and Hall back. McMichael figures to be gone.

Seattle Seahawks

Unrestricted free agents: WR Nate Burleson, FB Justin Griffith, LS Kevin Houser, LB D.D. Lewis, CB Ken Lucas, T Damion McIntosh, S Lawyer Milloy, DE Cory Redding, LS Jeff Robinson.

Restricted free agents: T Brandon Frye, WR Ben Obomanu, LB Lance Laury, G Rob Sims, G Chris Spencer, DE Darryl Tapp.

Franchise player: K Olindo Mare

What to expect: The Seahawks are a little difficult to figure. Their owner has the money to bankroll aggressive spending if Seattle chooses to go that route. Coach Pete Carroll surely realizes the team could use talent upgrades. The new general manager, John Schneider, comes from the Ted Thompson school of personnel. Thompson's aversion for free agency is well established, although Schneider has characterized himself as slightly more aggressive. The problem, of course, is finding good players on the market. Burleson will hit the market. He could return if the price is right. Carroll has said nice things about Redding, who should be affordable.

San Francisco 49ers

Unrestricted free agents: WR Arnaz Battle, CB Dre Bly, CB Walt Harris, T Tony Pashos, FS Mark Roman, T Barry Sims, LB Jeff Ulbrich (retired), LB Matt Wilhelm.

Restricted free agents: LG David Baas, LB Ahmad Brooks, CB Marcus Hudson.

Franchise player: NT Aubrayo Franklin

What to expect: The 49ers have largely turned their back on free agency now that they feel better about their roster. I would expect the team to lay low again when the signing period begins late Thursday night on the West Coast.
Posted by's Tim Graham

Miami Dolphins

Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots

New York Jets




Sunday, 2/2