Chat with Mike Sando
Sando joined ESPN.com in 2007 after nine seasons covering the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune. He previously covered Washington State University football and basketball for the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review. Mike grew up in Northern California before attending Whitworth College, graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in political studies. He lives in the Seattle-Tacoma area with his wife and their two sons.
Send your questions for Mike now and join him in The Show on Thursday at noon ET!
Edgerrin James (unhappy)
Why won't they release me???
Mike Sando: (12:02 PM)
NFL teams don't like being told what to do. I think James would have had a better chance getting released if he hadn't asked for his release. Also, the Cardinals don't have much behind James at the position. They might want to bolster the position before they lose talent at the position.
Jeff Richards (Lexington, KY)
Do you think the Cardinals will trade Boldin before the draft and, if so, what do you think they can get for him?
Mike Sando: (12:03 PM)
I do not think the Cardinals will trade Boldin without getting a lot in return. I would think they would need a first-round choice and more. A trade before the draft would not shock me, but the Cardinals have not been shopping him, to my knowledge.
Have the Vikings done enough @ the quarterback position? Do you think Cutler will get traded, and if so, should and will the Vikings go after him?
Mike Sando: (12:04 PM)
T.J. Houshmandzadeh obviously thought the Vikings had not done enough at the QB position. That was one of the main reasons he signed with the Seahawks.
Steve (Issaquah, Wa)
Mike, Todd McShay has the Seahawks taking BJ Raji with the 4th pick, they have invested a lot in the defensive line in the draft (Jackson, Mebane, Tapp, Tubbs, Bryant) do you really see them taking another d lineman so high?
Mike Sando: (12:06 PM)
I could see it, sure, on the theory that you can't have too many good players in the front seven. The Seahawks have a defensive head coach. They were not very good on the defensive line last season, at least as a whole. Throw out the Tubbs choice. It's irrelevant to the current regime in Seattle. Bryant was not an early pick. The DT rotation would appear strong on paper with Mebane, Raji, Cole, Bryant and Craig Terrill (depending on how many they kept).
Mike Renton, WA
A lot of mock drafts having the 'Hawks still taking Crabtree even after signing TJ. What do you think the chances of the 'Hawks taking Kenny Britt in the second round instead and then using their 4th overall pick on a OT or DL?
Mike Sando: (12:08 PM)
My instincts have said they might not take an OT that early. Re-signing Ray Willis bought them some flexibility at that position. I could see them taking Crabtree and figuring they wouldn't have to worry about that position for a while. The DL pick early makes great sense in theory, but we keep getting back to the question of whether there's a 4-3 DL worthy of the fourth overall choice. Raji? Perhaps.
Do you see Alex Smith ever living up to his potential if they stick with one OC for the rest of the time?
Mike Sando: (12:10 PM)
No. He was the first overall choice. I don't see him having that type of career. He's had a hard enough time staying healthy. He must prove he can do that before he has a chance to realize his potential.
Luis (SB, CA)
Mike, explain the logic behind Alex Smith's restructuring. Why doesn't the guy just ask for his release and get a fresh start somewhere? Lowering the amount he's paid only lowers his value to other teams and doesn't realy help his image in SF. Thoughts?
Mike Sando: (12:12 PM)
Alex Smith wants to stay in San Francisco. He's made lots of money at this point. He's not trying to maximize his value or make a power play. He wants to prove himself to the team that drafted him. He also must figure he has a better chance to start in SF than he would on most teams. The 49ers haven't declared a starter, after all.
What are your thoughts on the Jason Brown signing?
Mike Sando: (12:12 PM)
I really like the signing for the Rams after watching the middle of that line collapse in recent seasons. He should make the entire line better. He should make Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger better.
Anything new on Leonard Weaver and where do you see him ending up?
Mike Sando: (12:14 PM)
He appears to be in a holding pattern, as if waiting for the Seahawks to wake up and realize he's worth more than the typical fullback. Word keeps filtering out that the Eagles are interested. I don't see Seattle stepping up with anything significant.
Jay (Gainesville, FL)
To me, the best case scenario for the niners is picking up a solid right tackle in the draft, starting Shaun Hill while getting Alex Smith 100% healthy and into the system. Then he might have a realistic chance in 2010 to start and make an impact.
Mike Sando: (12:16 PM)
Alex Smith would really have to make strides this season for me to feel comfortable going that route if I were the 49ers. This team can't bet its future on Smith being The Man in 2010. I like the idea of keeping him around and trying to help him develop. But the organization has to take every reasonable measure to upgrade the position in the interim.
Sando, what is up with Kiper? He is way off base with his statement that Cassel is better than Cutler. If the jobs were swapped last year, Cassel would have been out of a job by mid season.
Mike Sando: (12:17 PM)
Kiper wasn't high on Cutler coming out of college, right? He is probably sticking to his guns. Cutler is making that job a lot easier with his handling of the current situation. Yes, the Broncos fouled up. But Cutler isn't exactly taking the high road.
Robert (Latrobe, PA)
Was there any ever genuine mutual interest between the 49ers and Kurt Warner? Warner was obviously using the Niners as leverage, and San Francisco likely wanted to see Arizona part with some cash and cap room.
Mike Sando: (12:18 PM)
Mutual interest? Nope. Warner wanted to sign with Arizona all along. He was willing to listen to the 49ers and if it helped trigger more serious talks with the Cardinals, that was fine. But he was never, ever going to sign with the 49ers, in my view.
Any chance of the niners signing Ken Lucas
Mike Sando: (12:18 PM)
That has not been their M.O. this offseason. I would not see them making a substantial investment in a 30-year-old free agent, in other words.
Many, you included have alluded to Knapp's offense not utilizing the FB for much more than a blocker. I have a hard time believing that's all they see him as, he has performed as the team's 3rd down back a large portion of the time. Are the Seahawks hoping his price goes down? If he goes elsewhere, who is the Seahawks 3rd down back?
Mike Sando: (12:19 PM)
The current personnel people in Seattle couldn't wait to sign T.J. Duckett. They brought him in for a visit a full year before they signed him. I think they see him getting those carries, frankly.
McShay/Kiper have the Niners taking Maybin or Andre Smith -- thoughts on Smith after a underwelming Pro Day?
Mike Sando: (12:22 PM)
Scot McCloughan is not as character-conscious as some GMs. He'll go for the talent. Still, I would not take such a risk with that 10th overall choice. They need to get this one right.
I was hearing rumors that Anquan Boldin was looking to switch agents? Any truth to that and why would he do that at this stage of the game?
Mike Sando: (12:24 PM)
Competing agents would like Boldin to change agents, for sure. They will approach any high-profile player who is having a hard time getting what he wants. It's just part of the game. The longer these things go without a resolution, the more likely the player will become vulnerable to those pressures.
What do you think about the Steelers and Joey Galloway? Does he have anything left?
Mike Sando: (12:25 PM)
I would never write off Joey Galloway. He is a physical freak of nature and one of the most gifted athletes I have ever seen.
Steve (Issaquah, Wa)
Mike, Where is this cap room coming from for the Hawks? They signed TJ, Cole and were rumored to be after that safety from Tampa before he resigned.
Mike Sando: (12:26 PM)
Those were not particularly cap-intensive deals. The team had enough room going into free agency.
Kyle Kirby, Portlan OR
The rams ther is no doubt need help at OL, but is there any chance they take curry#2? He could anchor that D for a decade to come.
Mike Sando: (12:27 PM)
That type of decision would require discipline given the glaring needs at tackle. I do think there's a chance for the simple fact that Curry seems to be the consensus safest high pick and the Rams have a defensive head coach. But I still think the OT route is most likely for them.
what happens with the Rams and Holt?
Mike Sando: (12:28 PM)
I expect the Rams to release Holt before they have to pay him a $1.25 million bonus March 17.
Doug (Yelm, WA)
Seahawks WRs Branch and Burleson are healthy, plus they signed TJ. Is there any chance Koren Robinson will make the team? He was a nice "feel good" story last year, but didn't produce that much.
Mike Sando: (12:29 PM)
I do not think Koren Robinson will be part of the mix in 2009, even if they were to bring him to camp. His knee can't hold up well enough for him to practice. He was a stopgap signing last season.
Brandon (Bellevue, WA)
Every year the draft experts don't take into account Ruskell's "value system" when predicting who we take in the first round. Ruskell avoids character issues, doesn't go for someone from a small conference, and they have to be more then a One year Wonder. There is NO WAY that they draft Raji. He had 1 great season, a lot of character flags, and he isn't a HUGE need. Thoughts?
Mike Sando: (12:33 PM)
That Ruskell value system led the Seahawks to draft Chris Spencer in the first round of the 2005 draft. My handy Pro Football Weekly Draft Preview book from that year says this about Spencer on page 90: "Negatives: One-year starter. ..." I do think you make a good point. In general, Seattle will look for the multi-year starter. But Ruskell's very first pick in Seattle did not fit that profile.
MJ Gill (Boston)
Mike - here's my prediction, everyones' going to jump on the Dominique Rogers Cromartie bandwaggon, and he'll get voted to the pro bowl. Kind of similar to how DeAngelo Hall makin it. DMC, got abused on those last couple drives against the Steelers....He'll be good, but get ready for the bandwaggoners.
Mike Sando: (12:34 PM)
DMC did get abused, but I thought Run held up pretty well.
Tyrell (Philly, PA)
What should the eagles do at their questionable shots like WR and OT.
Mike Sando: (12:35 PM)
How about signing Orlando Pace?
jesse (sacramento, CA)
Do you think the rams draft Crabtree at no. 2 and then take the best tackle in the second round or move up into the late first and take britton
Mike Sando: (12:36 PM)
I would like that move for them, in theory. You figure they bolstered the line in the middle with Brown and also found a fullback, two moves to help Steven Jackson. And now they would be giving Marc Bulger another weapon while taking heat off Donnie Avery and making Torry Holt's departure easier to stomach from a personnel standpoint.
Rich (Bayonne, NJ)
Can you tell me more about Demetric Evans? Also, if he can play, wouldn't it better for the Niners draft an pass rushing OLB like Orakpo or Maybin for a terrific front seven and sign a RT like Tauscher?
Mike Sando: (12:39 PM)
I see Evans as a rotation player and potential starter at end, depending on what Kentwan Balmer shows. Evans has the size to play end in a 3-4 scheme. He is not going to be a pass-rush specialist. I do think the 49ers will draft a pass-rushing OLB type. Just not sure how early.
How will the Hawks bolster the secondary?
Mike Sando: (12:39 PM)
By hoping their pass rush improves, apparently.
Ian (Easton, PA)
Considering his injury history the last few seasons and having started 23 of 64 possible games in his four seasons with the Niners, do you think Jonas Jennings will be released or will the Niners be patient and try to see if can stay healthy this season?
Mike Sando: (12:41 PM)
Jonas Jennings will not be back under his current contract. GM Scot McCloughan said there would be no rush in releasing him. Sounds like they are letting him get healthy. That could make it easier to release him from a liability standpoint. And if he really does bounce back well, perhaps the door would be open for him to return at a reduced rate. I do not know if that is a realistic option, though. The assumption has been that the 49ers would cut their losses and move on.
Jay (Gainesville, FL)
Do you think there is any chance that the niners will be able to pick up Crabtree? They'd most likely have to trade up, but he seems like a dynamic talent at a position the niners have needed to bolster since TO left. What do you think?
Mike Sando: (12:42 PM)
The 49ers would love to add that type of weapon to their offense. If Crabtree fell unexpectedly, I could see them at least considering a move.
Mackay (Pleasant Grove, UT)
Was it even DRC that was abused by Holmes? I thought he did well for a rookie, going up against veterans ever single week. I think that he will explode into an elite player next year. He has the tools, just needed the experience. I think that the Cardinals secondary is going to be the best in the NFC West next year.
Mike Sando: (12:43 PM)
Rodgers-Cromartie was fine. One potentially critical play they got him on turned out to be a safety.
Dave (Queens, NY)
Is there reason enough for Seahawks fans to believe that Hasselbeck will make a full recovery and be the every-game starter this year?
Mike Sando: (12:44 PM)
His back situation appears more promising for Seattle than I might have expected. Hasselbeck has gotten clearance from seven specialists, including one of the highest-profile specialists in the country. I still wouldn't bet on him playing 16 games, but everything I hear says he'll have a much better chance of holding up this season.
Seriously, is crabtree really worth all this hype or is he just another 2nd or 3rd tier wide receiver waiting to happen? That's just my take and I'm feeling in the long run 3 or 4 other guys in this draft will end up better receivers.
Mike Sando: (12:45 PM)
History says you could be right. Receivers taken among the top few picks have fared pretty well in recent years. Fitzgerald was one of them. Receiver taken in that 7-10 range have floundered. The lesson could be that if there's any doubt about a receiver that early, perhaps a team should stay away.
What are your predictions for T.J. next year stat wise?
Mike Sando: (12:47 PM)
I would guess 75-85 receptions. They do have a receiving tight end, which could affect the WR numbers some. I see Houshmandzadeh getting back into that 90 range if injuries continue to slow Branch and Burleson.
MJ Gill (Boston)
DRC - gave up about 5 catches on those last 2 drives...my idiot brother is a Steelers fan and has that game on DVR. If it wasn't for an under thrown ball by Ben R., he would have been beat for long TD early.
Mike Sando: (12:49 PM)
DRC was definitely in the picture on some of those. What were the coverages? Was a safety late in helping? Can we tell these things from watching the TV broadcast? I think more coverages are misread watching on TV than are misread by the players themselves. I wouldn't analyze a corner's play in great detail without doing some background work.
Anything in Knapp's history lead you to believe Wallace could play a more dynamic role in his offense? If so, what could we see from him this season?
Mike Sando: (12:51 PM)
Yes. Knapp has alluded to the "keeper game" and that could suite Wallace situationally. I do think the new staff will be more open to unconventional tactics. Mike Holmgren was truer to his system.
Kevin, San Diego
Who do see as a June 1st cap cut for the Hawks this year?
Mike Sando: (12:52 PM)
June 1 no longer exists as a meaningful date on the NFL calendar in terms of cap savings. Teams can no longer reap cap savings by releasing players after that date or designating players as post-June 1 casualties.
Will the Seahawks regain there 2005 glory or flounder? What is your prediction for next year?
Mike Sando: (12:54 PM)
I say there's very little chance Seattle regains its 2005 glory. That team was 13-3 and peaking. This team is trying to right itself. I think Seattle can become viable in the division with some stability at quarterback and on the offensive line.
Brandon (Bellevue, WA)
When is Burelson's contract expireing? The answer might change what we do about Crabtree on draft day...
Mike Sando: (12:57 PM)
Nate Burleson's contract has been one of the most misunderstood documents of modern times. OK, that's a little bit of a stretch, but here is what we need to know. The deal was never going to pay him $49 million over seven years. He is under contract through the 2010 season for salaries of $3.25 million in each season.
Why didn't the Cardinals go after Mike Karney even after he professed his desire to come home? Couldn't we have gotten a good fullback for a bargain price or is he not better than T. Smith & T. Castille?
Mike Sando: (12:58 PM)
Probably not better than those guys. At least not appreciably better.
Mackay (Pleasant Grove, UT)
Do you think that AZ will pick up where they left off? I know that there are many changes that affect next season, but I feel that they could be much better. Maybe not be in the big game again but a 9-7 record seems unlikely if they do pick up where they left off. I'd say the majority of the outcome will rest on the defense.
Mike Sando: (1:00 PM)
Nope. I don't think that is how it works. They'll start fresh like everyone else. Remember, too, that this team did not handle success very well until the stakes were really high. Let's see how they fare playing September games with targets on their backs.
Mike Sando: (1:01 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat today. Hope to see you over at the NFC West blog. You can also check in through the Facebook page associated with the blog. It's something we'll probably develop over time. Take care.