Mailbag: No way for Holt to go out

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Greg from Jacksonville writes: It sure is a shame that a hall of fame receiver who is 11th in league history in career receptions has to ask an organization to release him. You would think a team with an asset of that caliber would choose to make him happy rather than alienate him out of the gameplan. His receptions for yard percentages are more than any receiver in the past decade and his yards per game average is more than any receiver in history.

However, that is not what I want to talk about. Just because they will save a few million in salary cap, there is no excuse for the Rams to treat Torry Holt this way. There are few players left in this league that come to work everyday and consistently challenge the work ethic of everyone on the field without holding press conferences about it. His lack of off-the-field antics leads to his lack of publicity for the great things he did for this organization. Lets give credit where credit's due.

How about we give it up for a guy who wouldn't be caught dead talking trash about his team, even though they went 2 and 14. Even though each week he continued to put up hall of fame type numbers, his team continued to lose, but each week he showed up and performed. Guess what, you never saw him screaming at an offensive coordinator. Week after week, he tried his best to keep morale high on the sidelines, and regardless of the win loss percentage, sources say he did a pretty good job.

If anyone had every right to become a trash talking hot shot it would have been him, but he's not that guy, even though there is no question he had the stats to back it up. I hope he finds a suitable home soon, because any team would be lucky to have him.

Mike Sando: The way the Rams phased out Holt last season did not sit well with other players on the team. It was a factor in the Rams' demise last season, based on what I know. The new regime is not part of that. The new regime has a mandate to start over. I think that makes this a more natural time to part with Holt in a move that would benefit both parties. The Rams would benefit by clearing needed cap room and infusing youth into their roster. Holt would benefit by having a chance to catch on with a contending team.

While I agree that Holt was not a prima donna or troublemaker, he did clash with Scott Linehan during one well-publicized sideline dispute.

Mike from Oak Harbor, Wash., writes: Hey Mike, Maybe it is my imagination but It seems to me nobody is trying to sign their own FA. Seems to me in the past it was a priority to sign your own FA.
Is there a new trend within the draft for teams not wanting to trade up because of the cost of unproven high priced rookies? Do you think this will be a factor with the Seahawks if they want to trade down.

Mike Sando: I track free-agent signings closely and can give some numbers.

The league listed 336 unrestricted free agents when the signing period opened. There were 230 remaining heading into the weekend. Of the 106 signings, 51 re-signed with their existing teams. The Bucs had re-signed a league-high five players. The Panthers, Packers, Cowboys, Giants and Eagles were the only teams that hadn't re-signed one of their own unrestricted free agents. And of the 55 who had changed teams, 12 had signed with Denver and six had signed with Detroit.

As for not wanting to move up in the draft, that trend isn't really new. We haven't seen many teams trade into the top five from lower in the round over the last decade.

Dave from Pittsburgh writes: If the Seahawks were to use their 1st round pick on an offensive tackle, do you think they would get him immediate playing time by moving him to right tackle until Walter Jones decides to retire? If so, is Locklear a candidate to move inside to guard?
Mike Sando: Moving Locklear to guard has not been a serious consideration to this point. I suppose the new coaching staff could reconsider, but I have thought Locklear had more value at tackle. Your scenario would require having two players change positions (Locklear and the left tackle they would draft in the first round). I do not think that scenario would maximize the value of the fourth overall choice.

Ismael from Omaha, Neb., writes: I have been a Niners fan all my life, but I'm starting to lose faith in them, especially how this free agency period is being handled. I don't understand the signing of Damon Huard when there is a Byron Leftwich still available in free agency. With our "philosophy", I think he would be a better fit in our offense.
Mike Sando: The 49ers most likely weren't going to promise a starting job to any of the second-tier veteran quarterbacks such as Leftwich. They were also looking for someone to mentor the other quarterbacks on the team. Huard fit that profile, from their perspective.

Huard is a safer signing than Leftwich. Huard has started more games recently. Leftwich has started two games over the last two seasons and eight over the last three. The 49ers could not reasonably count on him holding up physically for an extended period.

Sal from Oakland, Calif., writes: With former Sun Devil Mike Karney getting cut by the Saints, what are the chances of him returning home to play for the Cardinals?

Mike Sando: I have heard the Rams might bring him in for a visit, and that the Seahawks could have some interest. I have not heard the Cardinals mentioned as a possibility to this point.

Clu from Phoenix writes: Hey Mike, What happenend to the J.J. Arrington situation? He signed and then didn't? Also, since the Cardinals haven't released Edge is it possible they are holding a bit of a grudge and not releasing him until the last minute. I heard some Arizona radio guys say this and it seems very possible with Whiz to hold a grudge on players.
Finally do you know if the Cards have any ideas on signing some outside LBs because Bertrand Berry is old, Chike Okeafor is old and running out of time on his contract, and Travis LaBoy was hurt a lot. Thanks!

Mike Sando: The Cardinals face a dilemma on some of these personnel issues. They feel as though too many players have been pushing for new contracts with multiple years remaining on their deals. They want players to know the organization will conduct business on its terms. As a result, they have talked about establishing a policy that would limit how early they would consider reworking deals, for example.

Any team that holds grudges against players will hurt itself in the end. Anyone who followed the Raiders as closely as I did years ago can tell you what the Marcus Allen fiasco meant to that organization once Al Davis decided to "win" that battle.

There's a balance between an organization operating on its terms and an organization looking to "win" every dispute with players. We'll find out over time where the Cardinals fit on that sca
le. They held a hard line on Kurt Warner for quite a while and they are doing the same with James and Anquan Boldin. Let's see how those battles work out and whether the team can head off future conflicts such as these.

As for J.J. Arrington, the initial contract with Denver fell apart. They have signed a new one.