Chat with Mike Sando
Sando joined ESPN.com in 2007 after nine seasons covering the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune. He previously covered Washington State University football and basketball for the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review. Mike grew up in Northern California before attending Whitworth College, graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in political studies. He lives in the Seattle-Tacoma area with his wife and their two sons.
Send your questions for Mike now and join him in The Show on Thursday at noon ET!
mike cincinnati, ohio [via mobile]
What QB is going to sign with the Bengals to back up Palmer?
Mike Sando (12:01 PM)
Former 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan is in the mix there.
Sulman, Grand Cayman
Hey Mike, Been a longtime reader and a big fan of the column. With the recent release of Roy Williams, do you think he would be a good fit in San Francisco, who are need of an upgrade in the safety position? Thanks!
Mike Sando (12:02 PM)
Thanks. I see Williams as a strong safety. The 49ers have needed a free safety. They plan to give Dashon Goldson a chance. For that reason, I'd be a little surprised if they went after Williams -- unless Michael Lewis is in greater danger than expected.
Any more word on McFadden in Arizona?
Mike Sando (12:04 PM)
I was speaking with another reporters last night about McFadden appeared likely to land somewhere pretty soon. Terrell Owens' release made me question that. McFadden and Owens share an agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and I'm thinking Owens' situation could take priority. We'll see.
Devin (Jacksonville, FL) [via mobile]
Mike, with the shakeups occurring in the NFC West, the emergence of Arizona, Seattle getting T.J. and Colin Cole in free agency, St Louis improving their offensive line with Jason Brown and San Francisco showing drastic improvement towards the end of last season under Mike Singletary, do you feel they will become a powerhouse division in the next 2 seasons?
Mike Sando (12:06 PM)
That seems unlikely. Kurt Warner will probably be gone by then. Matt Hasselbeck could be getting up there.
Corey (Elizabeth,Nj) [via mobile]
Who are the cowboys going to sign to replace Owens
Mike Sando (12:06 PM)
They already have their man in Roy Williams.
Bryan Chicago IL [via mobile]
After reading Jerry Angelo comments about receivers and over paying housh at his age how can he say that when he just gave urlacher more money and his production is down at his age and why not pursue pace and holt to fill two major holes?
Mike Sando (12:08 PM)
Those comments did seem a little odd if for no other reason than GMs generally do not publicly judge other GMs' moves. In this case, Angelo and Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell are old pals from their days together in Tampa Bay. Angelo might have a point, but you have to pay to play in free agency and I think Angelo was right in saying the Seahawks' WR woes last season played into their thinking.
Kevin, San Diego
Why hasn't Ray Willis been resigned? Did he not fit in the Zone Block Scheme?
Mike Sando (12:09 PM)
The word at the combine was that the Redskins would likely make a play for him. Their efforts went toward Haynesworth and I wonder if Willis might have overplayed his hand a little. The Seahawks would like him back.
chris, sanfrancisco, C.A. [via mobile]
Let's face it, the 49ers need to sign a big time QB and a big time WR. Why don't they go after holt? He can team up with bruce. Any chance they will get VICK? I mean there's no real quality QB left out there.If the niners want to win the division they need to start by signing quality players. Huard? That's a joke!
Mike Sando (12:11 PM)
Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt would be stopgap-type players at this point. The 49ers need to build with younger guys, in my view. As for Vick, no.
Allen (Vancouver, WA)
Mike, have you heard anything about our chances to sign Jermaine Phillips? Is he still in Seattle, possibly working out a deal?
Mike Sando (12:13 PM)
The Seahawks approached free agency without thinking Phillips would be a real possibility. They did not know Tampa would release all those defensive players. Those moves have probably led Phillips to consider other options more strongly. Seattle has a chance. The Seahawks like him. Phillips' ties to Gus Bradley would seem to help. This would be a real bonus signing for Seattle if the team could pull it off.
Cyrus (San Francisco, CA)
Dawkins, Housh and especially Canty would have fit needs for the 49ers. The Niners have the cap flexibility but it didn't even seem like they attempted to make a play for any of those three. Do they think they're close enough that they can fill all their holes through the draft?
Mike Sando (12:14 PM)
I wonder how eager they are to spend money in this economy given their substandard stadium situation. Just a thought. Yeah, they brought in Warner, but they had to know he would go back to Arizona.
Any idea if Matt Leinart might be asking for a trade?
Mike Sando (12:15 PM)
I do not think he has asked for one at this point, but he has to see the writing on the wall. He knows his situation in Arizona has worsened in the last few days. The money Arizona committed to St. Pierre says the Cardinals are covering their bases.
Say the Seahawks sign Phillips...do they then take their trophies and go home for the rest of Free Agency or are there other prizes to be pursued?
Mike Sando (12:16 PM)
I think they would take their trophies home and be done in terms of significant financial outlays.
The Arizona Cardinals have signed free agent safety Keith Lewis. What kind of impact do you think Lewis is going to have on this team?
Mike Sando (12:17 PM)
I would expect him to contribute mostly on special teams.
joe santa clara, C.A. [via mobile]
Friscooo in the house!!! Yo mike what up? Do you see the 49ers winning the west next season? I'd bet my house the cardinals will not duplicate next season, seattle is to old and the rams well there the rams
Mike Sando (12:19 PM)
It's a weird division. For all the Cardinals' postseason success, they were a 9-7 team and inconsistent. I expect the Rams and Seahawks to improve this season. The 49ers look like they'll be about the same. I see a giant ball of 8-8 in this division right now.
Will J (Portland, OR)
I'll rephrase my question, in your opinion which has been the best acquisition in the NFC West so far? Most surprising one?
Mike Sando (12:20 PM)
The Rams' signing of Jason Brown might be the best addition. The Seahawks' signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh is up there as well. I just think the Rams' situation at center was so infirm that Brown should make a big difference. The Seahawks' acquisition of Colin Cole was probably the most surprising move. No one asked me about him before free agency and I never considered him.
Do you see both Holt and Pace being Rams at the beginning of the season or should they just start fresh with young players developing into their own?
Mike Sando (12:22 PM)
I expect Torry Holt to be gone for sure. The decision on Orlando Pace should be a more difficult one, in my view, because he could start at left tackle for another year if needed. Forced to make a prediction, I would say both are unlikely to remain with the team.
Oscar (Azusa, CA)
What round do u see the niers taking a RB, and also what about drafting Pat White? He has shown that he is a top QB in this years draft. He reminds me of a young Kordell Stewart.
Mike Sando (12:24 PM)
The 49ers probably need to be careful in selecting a quarterback with a difficult-to-project pro future. Alex Smith was a spread-passing guy with mobility, after all. As for the RB pick, I would think the 49ers would look for that in the second, third or fourth rounds.
Dave Phoenix AZ
Any news on the Cards reworking the Boldin deal? Maybe Philly or G-men gonna thru some picks at AZ making the deal too hard to pass up.
Mike Sando (12:25 PM)
The Cardinals have been quite deliberate in their approach. They have suggested Boldin will have to bid his time while the team handles other priorities. The draft tends to be a trigger point for trades, so we should watch Boldin closely as the draft nears. I know of no recent progress in contract talks.
John (Spokane, WA)
Never too early for Fantasy! Gore, S-Jax, or JJ next year? They're all going to run but I like Knapp's history and dislike the unbalanced offenses of the 9ers and Rams.
Mike Sando (12:26 PM)
Steven Jackson gets the call from this vantage point. Gore will get his carries, but he might be more apt to share time in the backfield. The Rams are going to run Jackson and I think he'll get more carries.
dallas, TX [via mobile]
I support the release of Owens & Williams by the Cowboys. However, why wouldn't Jones try to get at least a draft pick via a trade rather than just cutting those guys loose? Just seems like we are going to be pretty thin at receiver now.
Mike Sando (12:27 PM)
People probably weren't willing to inherit Owens' contract.
I'm a little unsure of what to think of Sanchez. Do you think if he's available at 10 the Niners jump on him? I guess you need a QB of the future but in this division, I'd like to believe that someone like Andre Smith and a couple other minor additions might make them competitive this year as opposed to building for the future with a QB.
Mike Sando (12:29 PM)
I've seen people I respect projecting a QB for the 49ers. I suppose it makes some sense, but the failure rate is so high for drafted quarterbacks. It's a tough spot for the 49ers. Yes, they need a quarterback, but they can't take one just to take one. I might be more inclined to go another direction unless I were convinced Sanchez would be a star.
Hey Sando!!! Was it just me or did ESPN announce your name as Matt Sando the other day when talking about your TJ piece? Anyway. Does signing TJ mean no Crabtree? If we were to draft Crabtree, does that mean Nate is gone? I love the TJ and Cole signing, and they seemed to be very Ruskell type moves in that he has eliminated the biggest needs going into the draft so he can draft for talent/value not need. I know it depends on how the top three shake out, and I also know you don?t like trying to forecast what particular player will be picked by certain team. But if the draft goes Stafford, Smith, Curry, who is the best player left to draft regardless of position?
Mike Sando (12:31 PM)
I hear "Matt" quite a bit. Whatever I can do to help Mosley's career along. On Crabtree, I think the Seahawks could still take him. That would give Seattle some potentially fearsome combinations on the outside. Matt Hasselbeck would like that type of move, I'm sure. I wouldn't argue with Crabtree as the choice given that most seem to think he's the real deal.
Tyler (Sacramento, CA)
Hey Sando.....I was wondering if the Cowboys save any cap room if TO signs with another team? Or is his 9 million cap number there no mattter what?
Mike Sando (12:32 PM)
Owens' contract affects the Cowboys' cap the same no matter where Owens signs.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Do you think the Rams will release Torry Holt? How much would his departure hurt their offense, which already had a down year last season?
Mike Sando (12:32 PM)
I think they will cut him before he's due a $1.25 million bonus March 17. Their passing game will suffer some, but it's time to start fresh in St. Louis.
Mackay - Pleasant Grove, UT
If you had to do two things for each team in the NFC West to improve them what would you do? Who would you sign/let go and who do you think will be a major contender next year? I would be interested in knowing your opinion.
Mike Sando (12:35 PM)
Pass-rush help for all four teams. RT for the 49ers, OL for Seahawks, OT for Rams and RB/TE for Cardinals.
Dave Toronto, Ontario
Why are the Rams waiting so long on S Butler? Who else is on their radar at safety? Assuming they get a FA safety, will they have cap space for more FAs or is the draft their next focus?
Mike Sando (12:37 PM)
This has not been a great market for safeties. The Rams have nonetheless taken a $6.3 million franchise hit on Oshiomogho Atogwe. They also sunk quite a bit of cash into Ron Bartell. Outside the secondary, Jason Brown's contract counts more than $9 million against the cap in 2009. The Rams are probably trying to be a little bit selective at this point in terms of how much additional money they commit to the safety position.
Anthony: (New York, NY)
anynews on what the niners will do with Alex S.? It seems like such a waste of talent. As I recall, he was quite successful under Norv Turner. Think anyone will pick him up and give him another chance if he gets released?
Mike Sando (12:38 PM)
They are in position to wait him out. I know they want him on the field for minicamps, but from Smith's perspective, he would need time to learn a new system if he were to change teams. We know he wants to stay in San Francisco. I would expect him to get a deal done there.
Will the niners sign a saftey this offseason or what?
Mike Sando (12:39 PM)
GM Scot McCloughan told me at the combine that their starting free safety was very likely on the roster already. That would have been Dashon Goldson.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
In my opinion, the 2-year signing of Warner basically commits the Cardinals to a 2-year window of competing for a championship (with Leinart being a goner), why does everyone assume the Cardinals are going to deal Boldin for draft picks? That doesn't make sense given the 2-year window of having a QB of Warner's calibur in town.
Mike Sando (12:40 PM)
At what point would Boldin's frustrations affect his ability to perform his job? That would be one question. Re-signing Boldin makes the most sense. Remember, Fitzgerald signed only a four-year deal. He's not going to be under contract forever.
I know its not an NFC West question, but what's your take on the Cutler situation in Denver?
Mike Sando (12:41 PM)
The situation appears poorly handled on both ends. I understand Cutler's frustrations, but come on.
Hey mike, I know this sounds crazy but what about a T.O. return to the 49ers? We have the type of coach needed for a player like him, a position need, and we did deal with him for eight seasons plus most fans in sf I know still love him.
Mike Sando (12:42 PM)
We've all seen Owens yelling at his quarterbacks when he wanted the ball thrown his way more frequently, more accurately, whatever. I can't see him keeping it together within a run-oriented offense without a top-shelf quarterback.
brent carmel, ca
I love how everybody acts like the 49ers are in the worst shape for qb's. Last time I check Sean Hill played better than Bulger, Hassleback, and a number of other quarterbacks around the league. I know his numbers aren't great and he isn't the long term answer, but here is no reason to gamble again in the first round for a quarterback when they could get a quality lineman or player that could have an impact right away.
Mike Sando (12:42 PM)
Shaun Hill did play well for the most part. He was particularly effective on third down.
Whats the difference between a free safety and a strong safety?
Mike Sando (12:44 PM)
That depends on the scheme. When Ray Rhodes was in Seattle, he viewed them somewhat interchangeably. I'll be curious to see if the new Seattle staff views safeties that way. Traditionally, the strong safety would be more focused on stopping the run. The free safety would have more range and focus more on coverage.
Smelly Tramp (Ocean Pines, md)
Do you think it's possible for the Ravens to acquire Torry Holt for a 4th or 5th round pick? What do you think the Rams would want for him?
Mike Sando (12:45 PM)
Everyone knows the Rams will probably cut Holt. Trading for him would mean absorbing a $1.25 million bonus and a salary north of $6 million.
Mike looking at the every roster in the NFC West right now, cap space etc etc, which team has the most upside say in 2-3 years?
Mike Sando (12:47 PM)
Depends on the lockout situation. I know the 49ers say they are in good shape for potential labor strife. It's tough to project that far ahead, though.
Justin (NH) [via mobile]
Do you think the rams will go after T.O and if not do you see them making any other big signings.
Mike Sando (12:47 PM)
I think they've spent most of what they are going to spend in landing Jason Brown and re-signing Ron Bartell.
Is it a good sign for the Hawks Engram left Kansas City with out a contract? Or do you believe the TJ signing all but ended his days in Seattle? You would think after last year, if they could get him at the right price, they would want that extra option to play around with on game day
Mike Sando (12:48 PM)
I question whether Bobby Engram could swallow his pride by coming back to Seattle on a minimum-type deal and then playing third fiddle behind T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the others. Engram has 600-plus receptions for his career and might not see himself the way the Seahawks see him.
If the Hawks sign Phillips, then how do you see the draft playing out? OL (Monroe) @ #4, DT/RB @ #36???
Mike Sando (12:50 PM)
I would not see Jermaine Phillips' status influencing Seattle at the top of the draft. I still think the receiver would be in play early.
What would the niners have to give up to land Cutler?
Mike Sando (12:51 PM)
The Broncos have said Cutler is not available for trade.
David (South Brunswick, NJ)
How will the Seahawks Def fare this year after a disappointing season?
Mike Sando (12:52 PM)
I think the defense will bounce back into the middle of the NFL rankings, most likely. But some of that will depend on Patrick Kerney's health.
Josh Ft Sill OK [via mobile]
The 9ers didn't make any substancial move in free agency so far and there's really nobody left worth sining what do you think they are trying 2 accomplish by not making any moves
Mike Sando (12:53 PM)
They didn't see many impact players worthy of the fat investment. GM Scot McCloughan has been talking about focusing on the draft. Mike Nolan had more input when the 49ers made some of those signings in past seasons.
what qb wr combo do you like most with owens
Mike Sando (12:54 PM)
Randy Moss and Terrell Owens on the outside, with Wes Welker in the slot.
Nico (Puyallup Wa)
I was excited about Owen Schmitt last season developing into a great blocker in the league but with his injuries why havent we resigned Leanord Weaver!! really! he is one of the best in the league and seems to be perfectly fit in out offense. Is my love for the team blocking my view on reality or is there someone else we are looking at maybe in the draft??
Mike Sando (12:55 PM)
A perfect fit for what offense? That's the thing. The offense is changing. People are not viewing Weaver as a true blocking fulback. As a result, I think it's hurting Weaver's value in the market.
Mike Sando (12:56 PM)
I've got an interview with Ron Bartell schedule here, so must run. Thanks for joining me today. Hope to see you on the NFC West blog. Take care.