EARTH CITY, Mo. -- There's a battle brewing for the services of defensive lineman Darnell Dockett in the NFC West division.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, all four teams, including the St. Louis Rams have showed interest in the recently released Arizona Cardinal.
Former Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett expected to decide today between 49ers and Cardinals, though Rams and Seahawks also interested.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 4, 2015
Schefter's report makes clear that Dockett is going to decide soon and all signs point to that decision coming down to a return to Arizona or a move to San Francisco to play for the 49ers. The Seattle Seahawks and the Rams have apparently "shown interest" in Dockett but that interest hasn't manifested into any sort of visits.
Dockett paid a visit to San Francisco on Monday night with the Niners' interest coming in part because of the uncertain future of defensive lineman Justin Smith. Arizona released Dockett in order to save $6.8 million in salary-cap space but did so with hopes of bringing him back at a reduced cost.
In 158 games with the Cardinals, the 6-foot-4, 293-pound Dockett had 459 tackles, 40.5 sacks and four interceptions. The 33-year old Dockett missed all of last season with an ACL injury but had been extremely durable before that, missing only two games in the previous 10 years.
Even though it sounds unlikely that the Rams will be major players in the Dockett sweepstakes, that they have some interest in Dockett should be telling for what they are looking for on their defensive line.
The Rams released defensive tackle Kendall Langford last week in a cost-cutting move and though they left the door open for Langford's return, he has begun taking free-agent visits in search of a starting job. Langford wrapped up a visit to Detroit and is scheduled to head to New York to meet with the Jets before a stop in New Orleans.
Sans Langford, the Rams are down to just two defensive tackles -- Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers -- under contract for 2015. Much like last year, it means the Rams will again be scouring the free-agent market for depth. In 2014, that resulted in the addition of Alex Carrington, who didn't offer much in his one season with the team.
An older veteran like Dockett would make sense for what the Rams need because whoever they bring in will probably only be needed for 25 or so snaps a game. Although it appears the Rams aren't going to be Dockett's destination, the Rams' potential interest should be instructive in the types of defensive tackles the team will be vetting as free agency begins.