Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says he thinks it is "highly unlikely" for Alex Smith to re-sign with the 49ers. Maiocco: "I still think it's highly unlikely Smith re-signs with the 49ers, but it makes perfect sense for coach Jim Harbaugh to get to know Smith and do all of his homework. And Smith has to keep that option open, as well. But Smith is going to want to test free agency for the first time in his career, to be sure. If the labor dispute pushes up against the start of the regular season, it may end up making sense for both sides to work out a one-year deal. Smith is coming around the 49ers' team offices regularly, so he can gain some understanding of the terminology through March 3. After that date, the players might not be allowed to have any contract with coaches or team personnel." Whether Smith returns could come down to whether the 49ers or Smith have better alternatives. This could be a marriage of convenience.
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle doesn't see many Seahawks candidates for the franchise tag. Huard: "I think the only Seahawk that I really see the value of paying the dollars for the production -- because it's a very small number as far as franchise numbers go -- and that's your kicker, Olindo Mare."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com passes along comments from Hall of Famer Warren Moon for thoughts on Cam Newton. Moon, a radio analyst for Seahawks broadcasts, has worked with the Auburn quarterback and was on the field for Newton's workout Thursday. Moon, via CBSSports.com: "He wasn’t transferring well,” Moon, who is the analyst for radio broadcasts of Seahawks games, told The Sports Xchange. “He was throwing leaning backward. He has a strong arm, but I don’t care how strong an arm you have, if you are not in the right throwing motion you are not going to have good accuracy. As soon as he gets his weight going forward, he throws the ball as accurate as anyone I have been around."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says it's unlikely the Cardinals will use the franchise tag for any of their free agents. Urban: "The Cards didn’t use it last year (after putting it on Karlos Dansby the previous two seasons) and looking over the current unrestricted free agents doesn’t seem to hold any names that would draw attention. The money for a franchised player is fairly hefty (average of the top five salaries the previous year at that position), and I don’t see the Cards guaranteeing that kind of dough for a Steve Breaston, a Deuce Lutui or a Lyle Sendlein. You never know, but that how it looks from here." Using the tag for Breaston would make little sense because the team is already paying top dollar for Larry Fitzgerald. Lutui and Sendlein have value as starters, but neither has been a Pro Bowl performer to this point. The team loaded up on veteran guards last offseason to protect itself from possibly not having Lutui, who stayed away from the facility for much of the offseason.
Dennis Dillon of The Sporting News quotes Rams quarterback Sam Bradford as saying he has yet to get together with new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. That comes as a bit of a surprise. Bradford told me during Super Bowl week that he expected to meet with McDaniels for a two-day session beginning Tuesday of this week. Plans apparently changed. When will they get together? Bradford: "I'm sure sometime down the road. When that is, I don’t know."
Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com says the Rams face a dilemma with safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. Klutsarits: "The coaches respect him and the players love him. All of that doesn’t equal giving away $8 million, though. The Rams would love to renegotiate and get something worked out, but the problem with that is the current NFL labor situation. The Rams can’t really make an informed decision because they have no way of knowing what the financial landscape is going to look like when a new deal is done. Will there be a salary cap? Will there be no salary cap? Are there franchise players? Is there no such thing any more? There are lots of questions and no answers unless by some minor miracle a deal is done in the next two weeks."