Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando stopping by to talk about the latest NFL happenings.
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 now and join Sando on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Whoa, chat starting. Not sure how I'm going to do all these things at once. Let's talk.
I was expecting the Rams to make plenty of moves, but all that's been done is the Quintin Mikell deal. Why is nothing else being done?
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
The Rams have relatively few of the front-line needs a team tends to address quickly (quarterback being one of them). The Rams have less cap space than anticipated after absorbing charges associated with rookie contracts for Sam Bradford, Chris Long and Jason Smith. Lots of bad money gets spent early in free agency. The Rams feel like they can be selective at running back, for example. They expect to have multiple candidates there.
Mike, who do you see as the top three wide receivers in the NFC West? I say Sidney Rice, Michael Crabtree, Mike Williams. What say you?
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
Guy named Larry Fitzgerald comes to mind.
O.J. (Washington, DC)
Am I the only one that thinks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie AND a first- or second-rounder is way too much for Kevin Kolb? Kyle Orton would come much cheaper and is probably better than Kolb and only two years older.
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
You are not the only one. Arizona cannot win on this one in the short term because Kolb will remain unproven until he plays extensively. I also would be more inclined to go with Orton at a lower price, if given the choice. But I'd also probably get fired after my first 30 minutes as a general manager. This stuff isn't easy. No risk, no reward.
Mike, is there any chance Seattle makes a run at Vince Young? Tarvaris Jackson seems to be making backup money, and Charlie Whitehurst could be cut without them taking much of a hit. Jackson would serve as a great mentor since he knows the offense. I just have a feeling they have something up their sleeve.
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
I am not ruling out ANYTHING when it comes to the Seahawks' wheeling and dealing.
I bet you missed all this action Sando! Can Aldon Smith succeed at the OLB position? Or will he be like Lawson and be average at best?
Mike Sando (1:13 PM)
Did miss the action. I'm a little skeptical on Smith based on what I've heard from personnel evaluators, but there's just no way to know how the 49ers will use him specifically, how Smith will work at his craft, how well the defense will play around him in the long term, etc.
What do you think 49ers GM Trent Baalke's response to Frank Gore is???
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
It's important for the 49ers to treat Gore with respect even though they very likely think these tactics are highly suspect. Gore has done everything the 49ers have asked him to do, and he has done it well. He has been a great teammate. He has played hard and exhibited toughness while the team has continually failed to surround him with an adequate supporting cast. In the end, Baalke needs to stand firm on this one. The rest of the team cannot see Baalke cave at the first sign of trouble. If I were the 49ers, I'd speak highly of Gore personally at every turn while pointing to Gore's agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Make it about Rosenhaus and the tactics, not about Gore.
Justin (San Fran (Seattle at heart))
Sando, thanks for filling the past months of the hold out with such great content! Now that we're back in business, it's great to see the Seahawks making so many moves. What other needs do you think they'll address through free agency? When will we hear good news about Mebane? Finally, what are the odds that we get a young stud QB next year (or a dominant vet)? Many thanks!!!
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
Thanks, Justin. The Seahawks are slammed right now. They're working on getting draft choices signed and that is likely affecting their ability to get other deals done right away. They've made a solid offer to Brandon Mebane and are waiting to see whether Mebane will take it. I'd expect something on Mebane today or tomorrow. That is just my feel. At quarterback, there's a good chance the Seahawks will target one early in the 2012 draft. In free agency, I think the Seahawks have interest in help at linebacker and cornerback. Re-signing Mebane will be important. Ben Leber is someone to consider.
Over 1,000 yards for the annually dissapointing Michael Crabtree in the new SF offense this season?
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
I'll take the under until the 49ers can get up to speed in the offensive system and develop some consistency at quarterback. Vernon Davis is the top threat on that offense. Crabtree has a chance at 1,000 yards but I would not bet on it yet. Need to see more from him and them.
Who do you think the Rams should go after next?
Mike Sando (1:23 PM)
Is it too late for them to make a run at Sidney Rice? That would have been exciting for Rams fans and Sam Bradford in particular. It seems to me they could use some help at defensive tackle and outside linebacker. Backup running back and right guard are also on the list. With Steve Spagnuolo as head coach, though, I'd want to see them keep building that defense.
What's the latest with the log jam at CB? Is everyone waiting for Nnamdi or will one of the others leapfrog and sign a deal?
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
I suspect the market is waiting for Nnamdi Asomugha.
Jeremy (Salt Lake City)
What chance to you really see the 49ers having in winning the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
I'm not ruling out the 49ers. Remember when the generic "we" questioned their ability to close the deal with Jim Harbaugh? They got it done. I've been saying recently that signing Asomugha would make sense for the 49ers because they need help at the position and they're trying to generate goodwill for a new stadium. Making a bold play for the top free agent would relay, again, just how serious the 49ers are about getting things right. Jed York grew up around the 49ers when his uncle routinely spent for players such as Deion Sanders. I realize the 49rs want to take a long-term view, and they do not want to overspend in free agency as a rule, but this one would make some sense. I give the 49ers a chance. Chris Carr of the Ravens was a lower-profile cornerback I mentioned early in the week. He and 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio were together with the Ravens.
If the Niners don't go after Nnamdi, which CB is the next best fit: Joseph, Marshall or other? Will they be looking for ILB and C help now also?
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
Matt Barrows just mentioned Chris Carr as one candidate. Was a name I thought was logical based on ties to Vic Fangio.
The 49ers seem to have gotten worse in the last 48 hrs. Should I expect a 'rebuilding year(s)' from my Niners? What do you think is the probability of snagging Nnamdi, Joseph, or Marshall?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Just remember two things, I'd say: 1) Fans have suffered with this team for a decade, but this is Year One for Jim Harbaugh, a beginning; and 2) The free-agent signing period has not even opened, so it's way too early to judge where teams will wind up. This team will win or lose with its quarterback play and offensive line first. They can't afford to lose all their role players, obviously, but it is early and the season will not hinge on David Baas or Takeo Spikes.
Michael (El Centro (made the top ten list as 3rd worst plase to
OBSESSED WITH YOUR BLOG MAN. I read this everyday during my breaks at work!!!! You should answer my question cuz you feel bad for me having to live in a town with 30 percent unemployment. SO anyway, what's the real deal with this Harrison/Sproles/Snelling situation? Are these actual possibilities or just speculation? AND do we actually have a shot at Mebane or will he likely ask for too much money? THANKS a lot for everything you do man, I appreciate it!
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
It is staggering that the unemployment rate in El Centro has been higher than 25 percent in the last couple years. Something to keep in mind when considering whether an NFL team was "cheap" for offering only "X" millions for a certain player. A quick story: My sons are both into football pretty heavily now. The younger one likes the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. The older one counts Matt Hasselbeck among his favorite players. When I told my oldest about Hasselbeck agreeing to terms with Tennessee, he asked why Seattle didn't keep him. I told him money was a factor in these things. He asked how much Hasselbeck could have gotten from Seattle. He guessed $7,000 a year, having no idea what people earn for a living. I told him it would have been closer to $7 million a year. He asked how much that was per game. I told him close to $500,000. He thought about it for a minute and said, "Yeah, I wouldn't pay that either." And he's a huge Hasselbeck fan who cringes every time his little brother purposely subs Charlie Whitehurst into the lineup on Madden, just to mess with him. Anyway, on your actual football questions, Jim Thomas points to Snelling as the top choice and Harrison next. Sproles would be costlier. And I do think Mebane will be a little pricier than the Rams want to go for him. Mebane should have the most value in Seattle, I would think. The Seahawks did not draft a defensive tackle this year (Pep Levingston projects at defensive end). They know Mebane better than other teams know him. I'm not sure how serious the Rams were about Sidney Rice, but pulling Mebane away from Seattle after the Seahawks got Rice would help their cause within the division. Mebane does everything pretty well. He would give the Rams a highly promising front four while improving their run defense, which is a priority this offseason (Quintin Mikell's addition shows as much).
As a Sidney Rice, and Vikings, fan, I have to admit, that seems like a lot of money for a guy that had one good year and a lot of injuries. What do you think of the contract?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
Yeah, I'm with you on the price tag being high and this being a high risk-reward gamble. It's the price a team has to pay when trying to make up for past draft mistakes. Rice is so spectacular at his best, so it's easy to overlook the fact that he has really only produced for one season. Also, the Seahawks aren't exactly set up at quarterback in a manner allowing them to maximize their investments at receiver. I think this was a good gamble for Seattle given how much cap room the team has, and how young Rice remains, but your feelings are justified too.
With as far under the cap as Arizona is and the need to spend money, why hasn't there been more activity on the non-QB front? Colledge is a nice addition, but it's going to take a lot more than that to protect (a costly) Kevin Kolb.
Mike Sando (1:54 PM)
The Cardinals need to focus on some of their own guys: Lyle Sendlein, for one. What position would you like to see them address right away? It all hinges on what happens at quarterback. They'll likely re-sign Sendlein and/or Deuce Lutui. Daryn Colledge further solidifies that group, should the other guys come back. Defensively, much hinges on Dan Williams' continued development, Calais Campbell's ability to build on a strong finish to last season, Darnell Dockett's return to health, Adrian Wilson bouncing back following surgery, Patrick Peterson developing quickly, O'Brien Schofield emerging now that his knee has had time to heal more fully. I think they could use help at linebacker, but how quickly is that market moving right now?
Follow up, you predicting any games missed by Gore?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
I'd be surprised if he missed regular-season checks because by then it would be clear the 49ers were holding firm. Seems more likely something gets worked out before then. He would lose about $170,000 per game, by the way.
Sando, Thanks for all your NFC West coverage. I was wondering what you think of Marcus Trufant. I think he had one good year and is not a good shut down corner. Do we go after a corner in free agency?
Mike Sando (1:57 PM)
Trufant seems to play well when he's part of a good defense. He does not seem to transcend a bad one. Also, he takes a beating physically when the Seahawks struggle against the run. The New Orleans game during the regular season was a perfect example last year. Earlier in his career, he even switched sides to protect a shoulder. His salary is clearly higher than his production at this point. I think Seattle could be in the market for a corner, and I would not bet big on Trufant sticking around without assurances from Pete Carroll or John Schneider. Could be a fluid situation.
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat today. Busy, busy. Fun stuff.