Around the NFC West: Lobbying Peyton

The Seattle Seahawks picked up a 2002 fifth-round choice, used for Rocky Bernard, from Indianapolis in a trade that sent backup quarterback Brock Huard to the Colts.

Imagine if they got Peyton Manning in return, too, albeit a decade later.

Huard, writing for 710ESPN Seattle, puts together a compelling case for his former teammate to consider Seattle as his next stop when his Colts tenure ends. He points to ownership, Pete Carroll's competitiveness, a strong home-field advantage, favorable division dynamics, Tom Cable's presence in a Howard Mudd-type role, the presence of multiple young Pro Bowl choices and a coordinator, Darrell Bevell, who worked well with another older quarterback, Brett Favre. Noted: Huard methodically eliminates all but seven teams from realistic consideration for Manning should the Colts part with him, as expected. He then narrows that group to two, Seattle and Washington. Manning's health is the biggest variable, of course, but the Seahawks could afford to take a chance. They do not have better options at the position. Their position in the first round of the draft, 11th or 12th, isn't high enough for them to bank on landing a quarterback there, either.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in with retired Cardinals guard Alan Faneca, who has lost about 85 pounds and now weighs about 230. Faneca: "It's been the best thing for me. We're not supposed to be 320 pounds our whole lives. My joints are very appreciative. I'm sure the heart and other organs are thankful, too. ... I worked out about five days a week, including one hour of cardio. I ate between 1,800 and 2,000 calories a day. I wanted to do it (lose weight) quick. I didn't want to take forever; that would drive me nuts. I lost 70 pounds in about three-and-a-half months."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers a few thoughts on the Cardinals' salary-cap situation.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers Rams-related thoughts during a chat, including this one about the team's search for a general manager: "I really don't have a sense for who the frontrunners are, although obviously we have to put Minnesota's George Paton on that list since he's the first of the candidates to get a second interview. All of the scouts are under contract until after the draft. So there probably won't be any changes there until May. I think there are some pretty good scouts in the Rams' scouting department, but I think it's obvious that no matter who comes in, there will be some changes."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com takes a closer look at the 49ers' running backs and sees little evidence suggesting Frank Gore was playing through injury late in the season. Maiocco: "In the playoffs, he was very effective. He gained 163 yards on 29 rushing attempts (5.6 average). And after catching just 17 passes in the regular season, Gore caught 13 passes for 83 yards in the two playoff games. And if Gore wasn't healthy, why did he play 84 percent of the team's offensive snaps in the playoffs? There were times when Gore took himself out of the game after run plays. That shouldn't be too alarming. After all, when he's on the field, he was either running the ball, going out on a pass route or blocking a bigger man in pass protection. Gore turns 29 in May. The 49ers' all-time leading rusher is at that stage when most running backs begin to slow down dramatically."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' commitment to Alex Smith is obvious, particularly with Smith and coach Jim Harbaugh hanging out on the golf course this week -- after Smith accepted an award for Harbaugh in Indianapolis.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says conference finalists have had a harder time returning since realignment in 2002.

Dan Hinxman of the Reno Gazette Journal checks in with 49ers backup Colin Kaepernick. One fun note about arm strength: Kaepernick has thrown a football through the goalposts from the opposite 40-yard line.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' 2012 schedule is harder than it appears.