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!
Emmett (Hill Valley, CA)
The Cardinals going to pay Kolb his bonus?
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
I do not know, and do not know if they know. Can anyone know right now? Will Peyton Manning be available? Probably. He figures to hit the market by March 8. The Cardinals' $7 million bonus to Kevin Kolb is due March 17. The gap between those dates is a window of opportunity for Arizona. Can Manning demonstrate during that time an ability or likely ability to be ready physically? If so, would he sign with the Cardinals? Would another team carry greater appeal? What does Manning think of the personnel on the various teams' rosters? Manning himself might not be able to answer these questions. The teams cannot answer them.
With all of the Manning speculation going around, what are the odds that coaches like Carroll and Harbaugh are just trying to create a new formula for winning? The 49ers' great season, and the Seahawks' great finish was more due to dominant defense (and a good running game) than anything else. If this is the case, (1) why would we suspect that Seattle is about to make a big investment in a QB, and (2) wouldn't it be more likely that Seattle goes after a pass rusher like Mario Williams instead? Experts can speculate about how Manning would make the Seahawks, 49ers, or even the Cardinals a playoff team for the next 3-5 years, but I just don't think Carroll or Harbaugh are looking at their teams like these experts.
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh do have run-oriented visions for success. Both would also like to have the very best quarterbacks. The 49ers have come out and said Alex Smith is their guy, so I would not put them in the same category as the Seahawks regarding Manning or other quarterbacks.
Gustavo (Puerto Rico)
Mike, keep up the great job. I follow you almost daily here in PR. Was the Brooks signing out of the ordinary based on their approach last year? Is this a good signing? They will have their front 7 intact but is Brooks that good? Finally, what's your predicition for the 49ers 1st and 2nd round pick (position)? I'm predicting they won't get an elite ($) WR in FA.
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
Almost every day? Almost? I kid. Thanks for the support. The Ahmad Brooks signing was consistent with the 49ers' pledge to pay their own guys. They have paid Joe Staley, Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis, among others. Brooks was slightly different in that he was not a 49ers draft choice, but he had been with the team since 2008, so he was a 49er. Now, if Brooks had played his entire career elsewhere, the 49ers would be breaking from form if they paid him a big contract. We also need to see how much real money Brooks is going to get as part of that new deal. I often stay away from analyzing the finances right when a deal is signed. That is because the information tends to come from agents, and sometimes those agents offer misleading information to help them with recruiting other clients. At WR, I agree that the 49ers are unlikely to get an "elite" one in free agency. I see them getting a defensive lineman among their top couple picks. They're picking late enough to open the door for lots of positions, but all things being equal, that might be one area for them to continue strengthening.
Deric (Twin Falls, ID)
Sando, any word on the Seahawks new digs? Kam said he has seen them as recently as yesterday, just wondering if you have seen them, or heard anything concrete (or maybe you can pull some strings and get us some facts about them?). I know, April 1st. But we want leaks NOW!
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
Yeah, the Seahawks are planning to unveil new uniforms through Nike, which is headquartered straight down I-5. I do not yet know when I'll get a chance to see them.
Chris (Fresno, ca)
Can you explain why the 49ers do not think they should upgrade the QB position? Smith every once in a while has a very good game, but the other 14 games are pathetic. Even Steve Young says Smith needs to take more chances. And the ONE time he does, it resulted in the Davis touchdown, so why won't he do that more? We need a QB who isn't scared to let his receivers make a play!
Mike Sando (1:15 PM)
Alex Smith was an extension of his head coach. He played the game with the mindset Harbaugh wanted. The team addressed the future of the position by trading up to select Colin Kaepernick a year ago. Smith outperformed outside expectations in 2011, and it was good enough in the context of the team to produce a 13-3 record and NFC Championship Game appearance. Steve Young is right, especially in the red zone. Overall, though, Smith played well at home most of the time, and had his moments on the road. He improved. Things went well enough for the 49ers to decide they were best off staying the course over starting over at the position.
Sando, last year the Rams brought in Al Harris, which in theory should have helped their inexperienced secondary. It didn't work out as well as it could have, but I still think it was smart. Do you see St Louis considering another graybeard in Hines Ward? He would bring much needed toughness and experience to a completely lost receiving corps. Thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
That might make more sense if Ward had ties to the current Rams staff. He does not. He was hurt last year, and was not a threat. I see the Rams looking for more explosive players. They do not need a 35-year-old wideout with an 8.3-yard average per reception last season (even if injuries played a role in that poor average).
Hey Mike love your work, it keeps me going on the off season. I think we all know that the Seahawks will be very patient with the QB position, so with that said, what do you think of this years QB class and do you think there will be anyone worth going after in rounds 2-3?
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
Thanks, John. Andy Dalton was a second-rounder a year ago. So was Colin Kaepernick. I would think we'll see someone such as a Brock Osweiler available in that range. Kirk Cousins also could fall into that category. We need to see what happens with Peyton Manning first. Then, we need to see what happens with Ryan Tannehill. Would be be there at No. 12? Would the Seahawks take him?
Sandman, what's Akers' status with SF? Is he signed through another year? I hope so. With the offense struggling early, he won a lot of those early games with his long field goals.
Mike Sando (1:23 PM)
Yes, David Akers is signed through the 2013 season. His salary is $3 million in 2012 and $3 million the following season.
John (St Louis)
If St. Louis traded the second pick to the Browns, do you think they should consider trading down again to possibly get another first-rounder next year, plus additional picks? If Matt Kalil is there, take him, but I don't know if I would use the fourth overall pick on a receiver when I can solidify my core (OL/DL) instead.
Mike Sando (1:26 PM)
Yes, I would consider trading down again. But the focus will be on adding playmakers. The Rams have good young talent at defensive end. They think Rodger Saffold can be a starting tackle. They know Harvey Dahl can be a starting guard. The probably need two starting offensive linemen and a couple defensive tackles, plus two outside linebackers. But they really need weapons for Bradford.
Razoreater (South Bend)
Mr. Goldson acquired a new agent who is contract friendly to the 49ers. Does this signal he is willing to do a deal?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
This tells us Dashon Goldson feels as though Drew Rosenhaus was unable to deliver on his promises. Goldson had hired Rosenhaus to broker a big deal. The 49ers offered a decent one, but Goldson tested the market and lost. Rosenhaus paid the price for losing that bet. I still think the franchise tag will be the preferred way to go for the 49ers.
HawkfaninMT (Missoula, MT)
Going off of Emmett's question, if the Cardinals were to release Kolb, would the Hawks still be interested? I know Kolb was less than stellar, but scheme change may work in his favor, right?
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
Yeah, I could see that, but not for big money. The Seahawks' interest in Kolb was not great enough for them to give up significant draft capital and a big contract. But I could see them giving him a look if they did not solve the position in another manner.
Nicholas (Monmouth, OR)
Hi Mike. I feel like the Seahawks and Pete are at such a critical time and next year really is the time to see a big improvement. That being said we can't compete with the best without a more prolific offense in my eyes. The thing that bothers me most about T-Jack is that he is a death sentence at QB because he is just so average that you are always looking for him to improve. The Seahawks need to address QB and they can't get RGIII or Luck. So this whole rant is basically asking you how hard you believe the Seahawks should pursue Peyton "Hawk" Manning?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
They should pursue him hard if he is healthy. He would solve the QB situation for a couple years, maybe, and give the team time to continue building its roster.
With the Brooks deal done, are the niners going to be able to afford signing Carlos Rogers?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
Where there is a will, there is a way. If a deal does not get done with Rogers, the reasons will have nothing to do with Brooks, in my view.
Who should the Rams consider if they trade down far enough that Kalil and Blackmon are taken?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
Maybe the cornerback, Morris Claiborne, or do you think he would be gone too? Fisher's team took Pacman Jones early.
Andy (St. Louis)
Do you see the Rams possibly going after Finnegan if he doesn't resign with the Titans?
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
Yes, no question. That move would make sense. We discussed that in some detail on the blog recently.
Alex (Scottsdale, AZ)
Hey Sando, I'm not sure if this topic has been addressed? If the Cards feel that Skelton and Kolb are about even, why would they keep Kolb and give him all that money when you have a QB with just as much upside for a fraction of the cost? I've been hearing on the radio that here will be a competition between the two which shows that they are pretty close, so if they cut Kolb they would have a a lot of money left over?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
We are thinking along the same lines. I've made the same point. The question is really whether the Cardinals see those two as the same guy. Now, teams need more than one QB, and the combined cost of Kolb and John Skelton would be relatively low by QB standards if we set aside what Arizona paid to Kolb last season. Now, if they think each guy has a 40 percent chance of becoming a really good quarterback, two times 40 percent exceeds one times 40 percent. That is something to consider too.
Is it fair to say the Seahawks are a QB away from being a deep playoff contender?
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
A quarterback is no small detail.
If the Seahawks hve to use the franchize tag on Lynch, do you see them letting Red Bryant test the free agency waters? I tend to think he is worth more to the Seahawks than to other teams. Maybe they let him find that out for himself and try to sign him at a later date?
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
Yeah, that makes sense. I think they've made a good offer to Bryant and trust he'll realize Seattle is the best place for him.
Flash 80 (The Stick)
49ers win the Harbaugh way. Who's got it better than us?
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
Sando, do you see any chance of the 49ers going after Mike Wallace? Would he even be a good fit for the Niners? I would love to see him in a Niners uniform. I think he could open up the offense a lot not just with explosive plays but also for davis, crabtree and the running game?
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Not as a restricted free agent. I don't think the 49ers would give up the draft compensation on top of a lucrative contract.
Every team wants the very best QB for their team, but, based on what we know of Carroll, isn't it more likely the Seahawks re-sign Lynch, Bryant, and bring in an elite pass-rusher than pay a lot for Manning/Flynn or reach for a QB in the draft? It would seem odd that a coach who makes everyone work for their spot would pay big bucks for a franchise QB and give him the starting job.
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
Giving Peyton Manning the starting job would be different from giving another QB the job. Besides, Carroll gave the job to Tarvaris Jackson sight unseen. If he can do that for Jackson, I think he can do that for one of the greatest quarterbacks.
Gustavo (Puerto Rico)
Not sure if they guy above saw all 16 49ers game but Alex Smiths didn't have 14 pathetic games. They might not have been special but... not pathetic. Sorry to insist but, with the front seven intact, do the Niners stay solid in D? The schedule is brutal next year and I believe they'll need to move the ball better. A speedster in the draft would help them spread the field and maybe open the middle for Vernon Davis. Since we agree they won't go for an "elite" WR, who can they target in the draft to do this? Owusu in the 4th could be a nice surprise. Also, is the OLine good enough to hold down top teams?
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
The 49ers will come back to the pack next year, I think. They were 13-3, a great record. And, to be fair, if we're going to make the case that all those narrow victories tend to even out, we must also note that all three defeats easily could have gone their way. I just think the rest of the league will catch on to the 49ers a little bit more. Agreed on Alex Smith. He was no pathetic in 14 games. He was very good in most of the home games. The defense will remain solid. The 49ers should remain a playoff contender. But if we put the over-under at 13 victories, I'd take the under.
I don't understand why the 49ers at least don't consider the idea of getting Peyton Manning. That would be a clear upgrade at the position, a Super Bowl-winning QB. Smith is good, but Manning is a clear upgrade?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
I would not rule it out completely. The 49ers say they are committed to Alex Smith. I think they are, but I also think they are interested in upgrading their personnel at all positions. They would have to at least consider it.
Mike, I know it goes against the 49ers philosophy to sign a pricey free agent, but you could make a good argument that they are just a minor offensive upgrade away from the Super Bowl. With that in mind, doesn't it seem worthwhile to go after an elite free agent WR, rather than rolling the dice with another sub-elite guy or trying to find a diamond in the rough with their poor draft position?
Mike Sando (1:50 PM)
Yes, that makes some sense. When you look at the big free-agent acquisitions at wide receiver in recent years, which ones stand out for putting a good team over the top? Are there any examples?
Rod (Lynnwood, WA)
How come they are calling for James Carpenter to miss the beginning of the season next year with a torn ACL? He got hurt in Week 9. The prior season, Red Bryant tore his ACL in Week 8, and he was back on the field for game 1, after an offseason that did not include working out at the facilities and being monitored by team doctors? They are both big guys, so I don't see the huge difference in healing time.
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
Bryant was injured Oct. 31 of the 2010 season. Carpenter was injured in mid-November of this past season. He's at least a couple weeks behind the pace Bryant was on. Every injury is a little different.
Do you think Lynch is heading towards the Franchise Tag?
Do you think the forward progress was a good call during the 49ers game when Bradshaw fumbled?
Mike Sando (1:56 PM)
I did not think the call was horrible, but I did think it was unfortunate. If the officials think a play is dead, they should blow their whistles.
Am I already the best LB the 49ers have ever had?
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
Dave Wilcox played 153 games for the team and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He had modern-day prototypical size for the position at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl choice and five-time all-NFL choice. Willis is on a similar career plane and has a chance to overtake Wilcox.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Mike, do you think the additions of Peyton Manning (if healthy) and Reggie Wayne to the Cardinals' offense could make the Cardinals a solid playoff contender (10-12 wins in 2012)?
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
Absolutely, provided Manning would be healthy enough to play well.
Matt (Lady Lake, FL)
Technically TO did not put the Eagles into the Super Bowl, but he certainly made them quite formidable against the Patriots in the Super Bowl when he returned.
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
Terrell Owens was not a free-agent addition. The Eagles acquired him by trade.
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat this week. My pleasure as always.