Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe checks in with Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who offers thoughts on an unusual offseason -- and on his contract situation in particular. Hasselbeck said he feels as though the Seahawks want him back, that he is not upset talks failed to produce an agreement and that he understands the labor situation's complicated negotiations for most potential free agents. Hasselbeck: "I think it’s genuine, I think it’s sincere that they want me back, it’s just a matter of how badly. I know that I would like to be there, I think I can help them keep going on what we’re building there, it’s just a matter if it fits into the new agreement and how they want to do things and whatever else they look at." Sounds like Hasselbeck has a good grasp of the big picture and isn't caught up in the emotional aspect of negotiations. That is best for all parties.
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers and Alex Smith would benefit from moving in different directions. Cohn: "The Niners and Smith are like an unhappy couple that spends years in couples therapy never working anything out because the marriage was a dud from Day One. If the 49ers re-sign Smith he would be a bridge to the new guy they draft next week -- Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, whomever. But would he be a good bridge or would he collapse and plop into the swirling waters below? I say he’s collapsible. He’s already gotten two head coaches fired. Granted, Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary did a lot to get themselves fired, but their insistence on Smith was a deal breaker and a job ender, for sure." He'll get no argument from Roddy White.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Smith would have re-signed with the 49ers by now if remaining with the team were his priority. Maiocco: "If Smith had his sights set on returning to the 49ers, why wouldn't he have signed a new deal before March 3 and then started organizing workouts with his teammates in the Bay Area? Smith has already passed up a golden opportunity to step up as a leader among his peers during the lockout." Smith was smart to wait. How the 49ers address the position in the draft will shape whatever role he was going to have with the team. His value goes up if the 49ers fail to address the position seriously. His options elsewhere become more appealing if the team makes a bold move to shore up the position.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has the 49ers trading back to No. 10 and selecting Quinn with the 10th overall choice, acquired from Washington, in his latest mock draft.
Lynn DeBruin of the Associated Press explains why former 49ers quarterback Steve Young is having a hard time getting a ski cabin built for his father. DeBruin: "Young owns the land but not the water rights. Salt Lake City owns water rights in the canyon dating back to a court ruling more than 120 years. And the city isn't about to begin selling its precious resource or permits to build housing in its watershed."
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic thinks the Cardinals should use the fifth pick in the 2011 NFL draft for Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, if possible, in part because of his accuracy. Boivin: "It's too hard to ignore the fiasco last season that saw the Cardinals go through four quarterbacks. Chew on this for a minute: Seventy-nine quarterbacks threw passes in the NFL last season. In the category of quarterback rating, the Cardinals' foursome ranked 59th (Derek Anderson), 63rd (John Skelton), 67th (Richard Bartel) and 73rd (Max Hall). Accuracy was the deal-breaker. Anderson completed 51.7 percent of his tries, Hall 50 percent and Skelton 47.6. Bartel was the leader of the group at 57.1, but he attempted only 28 passes."
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks whether or not St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke can devote enough attention to the team after becoming majority owner of Arsenal recently. Miklasz: "Kroenke's style can work with the Rams. He can keep his distance and still field a winning team as long as he has a sharp management team in place. Having an aggressive, hands-on owner doesn't ensure success. (Just ask the Washington Redskins, owned by Daniel Snyder. Or the Dallas Cowboys of Jerry Jones since Jimmy Johnson left as coach-GM in the early 1990s.) Truth is, it's just too soon to know how all of this will play out in St. Louis." The Rams could do much worse than having a stable owner with deep pockets and the sense to let football people do the football work.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks back at the Rams' 2008 draft and says Chris Long's emergence has changed perceptions. The team's defensive coaching staff at the time preferred LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, but general manager Billy Devaney and then-coach Scott Linehan wanted Long. Thomas on Long: "He enjoyed a breakout 2010 campaign, and his disruptive play went beyond his career-high 8½ sacks because he also had team-high totals of 16 quarterback hits and 21 QB pressures. He was in the backfield a lot. Coupled with a near-career year by right end James Hall, the Rams improved their sack total by 18 over '09 -- tying Detroit for the largest increase in the league."
Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis offers thoughts on players drafted with the 14th overall choice, the first-round pick held by the Rams this year.