Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando stopping by to talk about the latest NFL happenings.
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 now and join Sando on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Hey Mike, love the work. What are the chances the 49ers can get a top-flight corner in the NFL draft? Because I am not sold on the secondary at all.
Mike Sando (1:00 PM)
Having the extra second-round choice should give the 49ers a pretty good shot at a difference-making cornerback. The Cardinals found Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the middle of the first a couple years ago.
Say a ball control team gets the ball first, then runs out the entire clock in OT without scoring, then wins the coin flip in the 2nd OT and kicks a field goal. Does the other team lose without touching the ball.
Mike Sando (1:02 PM)
The first thing to know is that a ball-control team isn't going to be winning much in the playoffs. The second thing to know is that there isn't a second coin toss. The second OT is a continuation of the first OT. This was the case when the Rams and Panthers went into double-overtime in a playoff game six or eight years ago.
Yobel (Kent, Wa)
Hey Mike, do you think the seahawks will draft Berry with the 6th pick in the draft?
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
I would say there's a pretty good chance. I could see scenarios whereby Seattle had its choice of the top tackle or top defensive back.
Chad (Denver, CO)
Is it against any rule to not have a GM? I'm still just in awe that the GM "mutual parting" happened five weeks before the draft!
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
The 49ers did not have anyone with the GM title when Mike Nolan had GM powers. Scot McCloughan became GM before the 2008 season. The timing of his departure was indeed unusual.
Jerry (Folsom, CA)
With the pending sale of the Rams, who do Devaney and Spags answer to right now? How does that affect their draft strategy? Does it give them more time to right the ship? Any word on what Shahid Khan wants in this draft? He might not have any say now, but his opinion may matter in the near future.
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo would ultimately report to owner Chip Rosenbloom. Executive vice president Kevin Demoff is also a big part of the leadership picture. Reports out of St. Louis suggest the ownership situation might make the Rams less apt to sign a player before the draft. Selecting a quarterback makes even more sense in the current environment, I think, because it would give the current leadership a player to build around and a reason for Khan to value stability.
Tell me there's no truth to this ridiculous McNabb to the Rams rumour!
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
General manager Billy Devaney called it "utterly ridiculous" and I do suspect there is nothing on that front right now. The timing would not be right for the Rams.
Do the Cardinals have any interest in McNabb at all?
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
Sounds like they do not have interest in Donovan McNabb. They're going into the 2010 season with Matt Leinart as the starter. They've got Derek Anderson onboard as a backup. They could draft a quarterback to develop or bring back Brian St. Pierre. I just don't see room for McNabb right now.
Sando, if the Cardinals needed to move up in the second round -- say, into the first half of the round -- to get an inside linebacker, would it cost more than, say, their extra third-round pick? Thanks.
Mike Sando (1:15 PM)
The Cardinals' third-round choices are 88th and 89th overall. The 88th pick, acquired from Baltimore, is worth 150 points on the value chart. The Cardinals' second-round choice is worth 320 points. The combined value -- 470 points -- equates to the 43rd overall choice, held by Miami. In theory, then, that third-round choice would help the Cardinals move up 15 spots in the second round.
Sark (Spokane, Wa)
Hey Mike, totally addicted to the blog and check everyday for news on the Seahawks, so thanks for that. For Seattle's 14th pick, do we really need somebody like C.J. Spiller right now? Wouldn't it be more prudent to shore up our D-Line or O-line first?
Mike Sando (1:17 PM)
Thanks, Sark. I go back and forth on this one. My initial thought -- the prudent one, as you put it -- says the team has too many basic needs to justify what would amount to a luxury expenditure for Spiller. The other part of me recognizes the need for offensive firepower. There's a chance the Seahawks can have it both ways. They could add Brandon Marshall by trade, then use those first-round choices for the lines.
daniel (portland, Or)
My question is regarding the salary cap, or lack thereof. If the Seahawks sign a player like Brandon Marshall, then could they sign him to a six-year deal worth $60 million, with the bulk of the contract being in the first year? For example, $30 million in the first year, and $30 million in the remaining five years. If you could do that, then wouldn't they be able to restructure contacts to do the same? This would help next year and years to come if there is a cap in the future. Please tell me if this is completely false or is this something that can be worked with. The example may be far-fetched with the amount, but you get what I'm saying. Thanks.
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
Teams do have some ways to get creative on these things. The Redskins just renegotiated Albert Haynesworth's deal to include a clause letting him buy his way out of the deal. The collective bargaining agreement prohibits the type of structuring you asked about. The CBA reads, "No NFL Player Contract entered into in an Uncapped Year prior to the Final League Year may provide for an annual decrease in Salary, excluding any amount attributable to a signing bonus as defined in Section 7 (b)(iv) above, of more than 30 percent of the Salary of the first League Year of the contract per year. This rule shall not apply in any Capped Year to any Player Contract that was signed in the 1993 League Year or earlier."
Dan Grimm (Ojai, CA)
Hi Mike, Thanks for the wealth of info. Do you think the Seahawks will use Whitehurst here and there even if Matt is healthy, such as the Eagles used Vick last year, or do you think they would rather have a clean transition?
Mike Sando (1:23 PM)
I get the feeling they might try to get Charlie Whitehurst onto the field at times. Pete Carroll has hinted as this, or at least I've perceived his comments as hinting at it. Let's see what Whitehurst and Matt Hasselbeck bring to the offense first, though.
Hi mike. I was just wondering what you think of the Hawks going all defense with the first three pick's. Let Gibbs do his magic late in the draft on some o -line. I think with just a few more big play makers on the D we can dominate that side of the ball for the next few years. Then we can finish up on the offense next year. Thanks for your blogs
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
You're welcome. I think the need for offensive firepower is too great for the Seahawks to overlook that side of the ball in the draft. They've already overlooked it too much, leaving Matt Hasselbeck exposed and not sufficiently armed.
I liked your "all in" analogy as to the 49ers and McNabb, but what successful NFL team exists that is always cautious? Patriots took on Randy Moss, Dallas (got to hate them) wins big with taking risks. I worry for the long term for the 49ers, they just do not seem to understand that taking a shot is required sometimes.
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
The analogy I used referred to the 49ers being "pot-committed" to Alex Smith the way a poker player gets committed to a mediocre hand. The analogy wasn't suggesting the 49ers would be taking a huge risk by adding McNabb. I identified McNabb as the more proven hand, continuing with the poker analogy (not that I have ever played cards).
Andrew (Maple Grove MN)
Hey Mike! Keep up the awesome work! If the 49ers have a non-playoff year, would the 49ers clean the front office and try to lure Tony Dungy to do what Holmgren is doing in Cleveland??
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
The Seahawks tried to lure Tony Dungy and it did not work. I don't see him moving full-time to the West Coast. And I also don't think he's into the whole power thing, a la Holmgren.
Do you believe the rumors that the 9ers are looking at Chester Pitts?
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
Yes. They brought him in for a visit.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
If the 49ers miss the playoffs again, how safe is Mike Singletary's job?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
That would depend on other circumstances, such as their won-lost record and their plans for the front office. Worst-case scenario for Mike Singletary would be to have a losing record and then have the team hire a high-profile general manager.
I don't believe a McNabb trade makes any sense to the Rams. But how about this scenario: The Rams draft Okung first, this gives them book-end tackles with Jason Smith for the next decade, Bradford slips to Washington at No. 4, the Rams acquire QB J. Campbell from the Skins for a mid-round selection, and then select the best receiver / offensive playmaker with pick 33. This gives the Rams a rock-solid O-line for S. Jackson and QB Campbell, they can get a playmaker at 33, and they don't have to mortgage their future by acquiring an older QB. Does this make sense from your point of view? I appreciate all of your insight!
Mike Sando (1:34 PM)
Appreciate the thoughts. Fun scenarios. The whole thing would hinge on what you thought of Jason Campbell. Campbell does have experience in the West Coast offense. He has shown some promise. I just don't think he would represent to the Rams what Sam Bradford might represent to them -- a face-of-the-franchise guy with all the intangibles. I'm not saying Bradford is that guy. I'm just saying the Rams would have a hard time passing on him if they thought he was that guy. And it seems as though they think he could be that type of guy.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
Why wouldnt the niners draft a QB this year?
Mike Sando (1:34 PM)
The top two quarterbacks could be gone when the 49ers pick and the team might not like any of the other ones enough to draft them at the expense of one of their current quarterbacks.
Sando, have you heard anything up to date on the Pacman Jones situation between the Niners and the Lions? Has anything new been said from any team?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Lions coach Jim Schwartz has said he has interest in Pacman Jones. The 49ers haven't expressed the same sort of interest. I'll check with their GM ...
Terell (Buffalo NY)
If Seattle needs receivers why dont they go after Terrell Owens
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
Terrell Owens and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the same quote sheet?
Kenny (New Jersey)
If the Rams go with bradford as #1 - who do you think is a good pick for their 2nd pick?
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
Good question. I'd like to study it a little more and get back to you.
Hey Sando. Any news regarding trade scenarios that include Rob Sims or Deion Branch? I think it would be wise to stockpile as many draft picks as possible in the first year of Carroll/Schneider. Let's not delude ourselves into thinking we can add a piece or two and be contenders overnight. I really hope Seahawk fans aren't expecting instant success, because I think it could take 2 or 3 seasons.
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
They're talking up Deion Branch, which could mean anything. I don't think another team would be interested in acquiring Branch's salary, but I do think Branch would be flexible on that front if it meant going back to the Patriots. There hasn't been anything new on his situation. Sims has been told he's not the best fit for the new blocking scheme. I think he could return anyway if the Seahawks could not get value for him. Otherwise, they'll probably deal him.
You said the Seahawks can add Brandon Marshall and still use their first round picks. Don't you think the Broncos will ask for one of those first-rounders? I don't see them trading a young Pro Bowl player in his prime for a second-round pick.
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Yes, the Broncos would ask for a first-rounder. I don't think Seattle would part with one for Marshall. Then it comes down to whether the Broncos want him on their team for another year. They could lose him to free agency and get nothing in return, or they could cut their losses with a player who needs a change of scenery, getting a good value pick in return. We'll find out by the draft whether the Broncos are OK bringing back Marshall.
Mike, the Cardinals had huge holes in their secondary during the playoff run. Some of it could be attributed to injuries and just bad defensive scheming (along with going against 2 great QBs). With Rhodes in the lineup and DRC recovering, do they have enough depth if another injury happens? Is Toler going to step up and start over McFadden?
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
They depth could stand to improve. Toler could overtake McFadden. He'll have to prove it on the practice field, but coach Ken Whisenhunt had made it clear he liked what he saw from Toler in the playoffs. I think they could use another safety and another cornerback.
Mike, I like your poker analogy and what I think(maybe wishful thinking) that the Niners aren't tipping their hand just yet. If there is a quality player out there whether its the draft,FA, or trade the Niners seem to go after him, ie Michael Crabtree,Nate Clements, Justin Smith etc. My question is what are the chances they will pursue him, I believe he(McNabb) could definitely get us to the playoffs and possibly to the Super Bowl.
Mike Sando (1:46 PM)
Jed York has publicly committed to Alex Smith in a way that suggests the team has already thought through a Donovan McNabb strategy and decided against going in that direction. Stability is probably extra important to the 49ers right now. They've finally got the same quarterback returning as the starter under the same coordinator. Just not sure they're willing to pull the trigger right now.
When was the last time Donovan McNabb won a Super Bowl? The last time I looked it is the same number as Alex Smith...zero.
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
OK, by that standard, Charlie Whitehurst equals Dan Marino.
Dan (Knoxville TN)
I think the 49ers should go all out and trade for McNabb. He has been in the league for a long time, but will Alex Smith be at the same level in the next 5-6 years? I would trade for a QB with 4-5 good years left over what the team has now. Alex did show some improvement last year. I as a 49er fan would not like to worry before each game over Alex Smith. It would be wonderful to see McNabb each week. Even if he had a horrible game, it would still be better than Smith's best.
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
Also, adding a player with Donovan McNabb's credentials would go over very well in the 49ers' locker room. I'm sure of it.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Huge mistake for the Rams to take Bradford. One great year in college, not a solid offensive line. Tough to pass while looking at the sun. Too much pressure to play the #1 pick qb before ready. Take Suh FIRST, everyone says "cant miss' then take LeFevour or Pike later in the draft. Mark it down, HUGE mistake to take Bradford now.
Mike Sando (1:50 PM)
You might be right. It's important for the Rams to avoid being blinded by the allure of a franchise quarterback. If they take Bradford, it has to be for the right reasons.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
Could that public committal be a smoke screen?
Mike Sando (1:52 PM)
Yes, Jed York could be blowing smoke on that one. But the reason he pointed to Smith as the starter was to offset perceptions that Scot McCloughan's departure would lead to philosophical changes. It wasn't just to back Smith or to screen true intentions, in my view.
Would the Cardinals still draft a OLB even after adding Porter, even though they already have two young guys they drafted last year in Cody Brown and Will Davis?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
Ken Whisenhunt seemed pleased with the situation at outside linebacker even before the Cardinals added Joey Porter. If they take an outside linebacker early, it's probably based more on value than need. An offensive tackle with pass-protecting abilities would help this team. They're talking about coaching up Brandon Keith for the job at right tackle, but that seems a little risky. I don't think the Cardinals have any one position they have to address in the first round.
Which direction do you see the Cardinal's going with the 26th pick in the draft? They still have a lot of holes defensively, what position do you see them addressing in the first round?
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Everyone seems to think Dan Williams will be long gone, most likely to Miami, before the Cardinals get a shot at him. All things being equal, I think the Cardinals could use defensive help at nose tackle, inside linebacker, outside linebacker and then in the secondary. That would be how I prioritized it. The Cardinals could feel differently based on the confidence they have in certain younger players to develop.
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat. See you on the blog.