Around the NFC West: Boldin steps into ring

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Mike Jurecki and Dan Bickley of XTRA radio had fun with Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin on the air (office alert: the link goes directly to audio). Boldin recently took up boxing to help him stay in shape and hone his hand-eye coordination. Jurecki and Bickley asked Boldin who he wanted to see on the stool in the opposing corner, Cardinals general manager Rod Graves or Jets safety Eric Smith. That one drew laughs. They also asked Boldin what his plastic surgeon thought of boxing as an avocation. Boldin said he knocked down his lone opponent in the second round.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says a Boldin trade has seemed "inevitable" for some time.

Also from Somers: He sizes up potential trade partners for the Cardinals, including the Eagles, Giants, Titans, Jaguars, Bears, Chiefs, Ravens and Redskins.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com quotes Boldin on Michael Irvin's radio show. Boldin said he wants his situation resolved quickly one way or another.

Also from Urban: Jewelers were at Cardinals headquarters to fit players and team personnel for their NFC championship rings.

ESPN.com provides audio from Boldin's interview with Irvin.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' contract extensions with Parys Haralson and Joe Nedney are "sure to be popular in the locker room." Haralson: "It was a priority because I'm basically excited about the direction the team is going in and with the things coach [Mike] Singletary is doing and the expectations his defense has. It's all about being somewhere where you are comfortable. I like it out here."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat describes Haralson's re-signing as "an essential move" because the team lacks pass rushers. Maiocco: "I've always doubted the 49ers would take a pass-rusher with the No. 10 overall pick. Perhaps, if Brian Orakpo is there the 49ers would consider him. But, more than likely, all four offensive tackles, Michael Crabtree and B.J. Raji would have to be gone, along with the two QBs and the trade possibilities attached to them."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News quotes Haralson as saying he thinks the 49ers could have the best defense in the league.

John Morgan of Field Gulls, while acknowledging that Seattle likely would not draft Jeremy Maclin fourth overall, says the Missouri receiver has struggled against top competition.

Also from Morgan: He compares Darrius Heyward-Bey to Eddie Royal.

More from Morgan: University of Arizona receiver Mike Thomas might provide good value for the Seahawks with the 105th overall choice in part because Thomas can help in the return game. Morgan: "Thomas could be a great wide receiver. He has the short, squatty build of Wes Welker or Steve Smith, and is arguably a better athlete than either. He's also shorter than either -- somewhat significantly. Thomas is under 5-8. And that's really the essence of any critique against him. He's really, really short."

William Tomisser of Seahawk Addicts sounds surprised I would project as few as seven victories for the Seahawks in 2009. I see a pile of 8-8 in this division, give or take a game here and there. And I need to see more from the Seahawks this summer before giving them the benefit of the doubt in several areas. Plus, I'm not a big fan of their schedule.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are looking at running backs to complement Steven Jackson. However, none of the 23 known college visitors was a running back. Thomas: "But the Rams have scouted a lot of running backs, and they've shown more than passing interest in North Carolina State's Andre Brown, Iowa's Shonn Greene and Liberty's Rashad Jennings. The Rams have talked to Brown at the Senior Bowl, the NFL scouting combine and North Carolina State's pro day. They also had an individual workout with Brown, with a Rams contingent that included running backs coach Sylvester Croom on hand."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams new regime has inspired a more optimistic outlook for Rams followers heading into the draft.