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!
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Hello. Let's get this thing going. In case you missed it, Mario Williams has taken a deal with the Buffalo Bills, according to Adam Schefter.
Steve D. (Jersey)
With the amount of cap space the Niners have and the need it fits, isn't it plausible that they should go after Mike Wallace?
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
They should consider it, but they should also consider the price. The 49ers have taken care to reward their own players. Have they now reached a point where they feel comfortable paying big money for an outsider? I'm not convinced that will become their philosophy. Wallace is an interesting case, though. Young player, addresses an area of need.
ryan (Lake Stevens Wa)
Are the seahawks going to make an offer to Flynn? With Mario going to Buffalo, who else are they going after?
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
The Seahawks never showed interest in Mario Williams. He was not a priority for them. His signing in Buffalo has no impact on how Seattle proceeds in free agency. I do think the Seahawks will make an offer to Flynn. It will be a modest offer, most likely, probably for not much more than Tarvaris Jackson is making. We'll then find out how much Flynn wants to be in Seattle, and what market exists for him elsewhere. I don't think there's a huge market for him. Perhaps that changes if Peyton Manning goes somewhere other than Miami, which seems likely.
Brian (Naples Fl)
Mike , what are the odds that Leroy Hill will be back in a Seahawks uniform in 2012 and beyond
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
I think the odds are high he'll be back for 2012. Beyond? Tough to say. It could be more year to year with him. He should value staying in Seattle, and the team should value keeping him enough tho work out something. I don't think the market will be huge for him, although if I were the Rams, I'd give him some thought. They need OLB help.
Gut Feeling... where does Manning go?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
The Cardinals are going to lose out big-time this year. The only salvation is to get Manning. Otherwise, losing the players they have, they are definitely worse off.
Mike Sando (1:15 PM)
The Cardinals earned universal praise for their wheeling and dealing in free agency one year ago. They then went 1-6. And when they did win, they won because their first-round pick, Patrick Peterson, was huge in the return game. They won without Kevin Kolb, their biggest veteran acquisition. I agree that much hinges on Manning, but it is tough to say what they would have accomplished this week if they were not waiting for Manning. I would not assume they would have made season-altering moves in free agency.
Roland (Winnipeg) [via mobile]
Rehash from last week, do the Rams have any remaining options to pursue that would be a better bet than giving up the pick and the contract for Wallace? They don't seem interested in keeping Lloyd and they would likely end up overpaying for any of the other remaing WRs that still would not be the #1 they really need. Plus, going into the draft with such a big need is just asking for a reach, especially if they target a WR in the first round when Blackmon is probably going to be gone already.
Mike Sando (1:17 PM)
They probably would not part with the sixth overall pick for Mike Wallace. If they did that, they would be taking on a huge contract and losing some of the value associated with the new rookie wage scale. I'd rather take the best player available at No. 6, get him signed on the relative cheap and then build the team that way. If they are going to acquire a veteran receiver, they could do so for a price lower than the sixth pick.
Sassy Pants (SeattleBrothel)
What do you think is a good price for Flynn?
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
Sign him for a couple years at $5 million or $6 million a year, then reassess after he gets some playing time. Consider drafting a quarterback early.
Hey Mike! Do you think the Cardinals should pick up Kolb's tab tomorrow if Manning has not made a decision?
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
Yeah, probably. I do not feel strongly about it. I would not feel good about having paid $12 million to Kolb, and I would not feel good about handing him another $7 million. But I would probably feel worse creating another need at the most important position, while not having legitimate fallback options.
Northwest Guy (Gig Harbor, WA)
Sando,In your article yesterday you mentioned that if Manning went to Tennesee it would open the door for Hasselbeck to perhaps go to Arizona. I know many Hawks fans cringe at this question but, is there really a reason Seattle wouldn't consider picking him up for maybe a 1 year deal and go after a QB in the draft for the future?
Mike Sando (1:24 PM)
There is not a great reason, other than the fact that it's sometimes hard to go back. The Seahawks already made that break. Would they want to make it again in another year?
OlesagginSeahawk (North of AZ / South of Alaska)
Hey Mike , Help Me out here. I've asked Cards fans, But never get an answer.--Kevin Kolbs signing last year. Did Wiz get snookered by Pete Carrol ? It seemed the way Pete played with maybe signing Kolb, It boosted Kolbs contract higher than what was prudent for the Cards. Thanks and keep up the great work.
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
Nah, I do not think the Seahawks were every serious enough about trading for Kolb to affect the market. Arizona was willing to give up a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Seattle was not willing to give up that amount in addition to a fat contract. In fact, I do not think Seattle would have paid that deal to Kolb even without having to trade a player and a pick.
Jake (San Jose)
It seems like taking the best player available is a common mantra when talking about drafts. Why doesn't this seem to apply to quarterbacks? Teams often reach for them. The Rams seemed to benefit from this exception to the rule.
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
People reach for quarterbacks because the payoff is so great if you're right. I would not bet $50 if there were only a one-in-five chance of winning another five bucks. I might bet $50 if there were a one-in-five chance of winning another $1,000. That is the dilemma for teams.
Derek (St. Louis)
If the Rams sign Eric Winston, what does that mean for Jason Smith? Do we kick him to the curb or inside to guard? Would Saffold move to RT or would we keep him at LT?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
A contract for Winston would probably precipitate the end for Smith. I'm a little surprised we haven't heard something come down regarding Jason Smith. Perhaps there has already been a restructuring. I do not know. But the contract for Smith appears untenable. The Rams want to keep him, but not at that rate.
Ryan Bullas (San Diego)
How serious are the Seahawks about signing Steve Hutchinson? I know it seems logical after the release of Robert Gallery. Also, any news on Jason Jones and if he will choose Seattle or St.Louis?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
I think Seattle is serious about Hutchinson. The question is whether Hutchinson can get more elsewhere. In the end, I suspect Hutchinson will want to sign with the Seahawks, and a deal will get done. That is just my feel. On Jones, I think Seattle has a good chance. Could see him taking a shorter-term deal to reestablish his value as a defensive tackle. Jones played out of position at end last season. His value took a hit.
How much credit does Tom Cable deserve for Lynch's success. He's not very popular here in Oakland
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
Lynch gets the most credit because he was the one running with such determination. But there's no question Cable also got that line to play with an edge. The people in Oakland would probably have no trouble with Cable as a line coach.
Steve G (Kennewick,WA)
Mike, Whats the weather looking like in Seattle today? Hosting a guy from the south, I'd hope the sun's out at least. Think Mr. Allen uses the sea plane to bring Mr. Flynn to the VMAC?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Bad weather all week. We actually had some snow on Tuesday. It was raining hard this morning. Paul Allen might want to break out a submarine for this free-agent visit. Flynn has spent the last couple years in Green Bay, though. That is not exactly a place where people of means choose to winter.
OlesagginSeahawk (North of AZ / South of Alaska)
So let's say Manning signs in Tennessee. Would the Cards make a move for Hasselbeck ? If so, how long would Kolb ride the pine?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
The timing could be tough here. Arizona needs to make a decision on Kolb by Friday. What if Manning makes his decision Friday? Let's say he chooses the Titans at that time. Could the Cardinals really part with Kevin Kolb and know whether they could get Matt Hasselbeck? If they did sign Hasselbeck, Kolb would not be in the picture. They would not pay his $7 million bonus in that case.
If you are Manning, is the fact that Fitz is in AZ the only reason you are considering them?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
Think he has a good relationship with Ken Whisenhunt. Quarterbacks like playing indoors, too.
Jesse (Zillah, WA)
What is your take regarding the running back situation for Seattle? Are any of the backs going to be gone, and are the Hawks looking to add anyone in a backup role?
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Yeah, I question whether Justin Forsett will be back. Seattle will probably try to draft a bigger back to protect itself in case something happens to Lynch.
What pass rushers are out there for Seattle to consider?
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Not a good list at this point.
Robert (Los Angeles)
Mike, what is your opinion on Alex Smith not signing the contract the 49ers have offered him?
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
Still think it is a matter of time before he signs. The fit is too good for him in San Francisco. He would likely not fare as well elsewhere. I have always thought Jim Harbaugh would be more calculating about the position than his public comments about loving Smith would indicate. And the deeper the 49ers get into the offseason, the more analytical they are likely to be about the position. But I still think there is enough equity (Harbaugh's word) for Smith and the 49ers to work out a contract.
Robby A (ma)
Mike, your blog rocks btw ... If the Seahawks do not sign Matt Flynn, I also don't see them drafting Ryan Tannehill at the 12 spot. Do you think the Seahawks are a lot higher on the potential of Josh Portis being their guy for the future?
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
Thanks, Robby. The Seahawks do like Josh Portis, but not enough to steer them away from other options at the position.
Derek (St. Louis)
Say Blackmon and Richardson are gone at #6 when the Rams pick. Wouldn't it be tempting to pair up Claiborne with Finnegan? That would transform the Rams secondary into one of the top units in the league.
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
The team needs playmakers for Sam Bradford at some point, right? That is the one thing in my mind as I look at the Rams' options. But if Justin Blackmon is not there, is there a playmaker? Pairing Finnegan with another top corner does have appeal, but helping Sam Bradford has to be the priority.
Ryan F. (Where the Rams should be)
How long is it going to take the Rams to realize that Sam Bradford needs weapons....?
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
They realize it, but they do not want to vastly overpay for a wide receiver.
I don't get the panic about Rams not overpaying for an average wr in FA. This team has needs everywhere, and will not win Super Bowl this year anyway. I hope Justin Blackmon is available at #6, but if not, we still get great player.
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
That is absolutely the right attitude to have. It is the smart, big-picture view. But Sam Bradford does need help right now. Yesterday, actually. They have to make the Bradford investment pay off, and they cannot do that without getting weapons for him.
Mike Lloyd (Scottsdale, AZ)
Mike, I am not a huge fan of Kolb myself and I thought Skelton earned the starting role with his clutch performances in the 4th quarter. So with that being said, would it be outrageous for the Cardinals to cut Kolb regardless if Manning signed and use that $7 million to give Skelton more weapons/better protection? Even more talent on the defensive end?
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
No, it would not be outrageous -- as long as the coaching staff in Arizona felt strongly that Kolb were not the answer. That might be the case, as reflected by Ken Whisenhunt's comments about Skelton having earned the right to compete for the job. Those comments could also simply reflect Whisenhunt's belief that jobs are earned, not won. Finding another quarterback is another big consideration. A backup is going to cost a few million bucks. Might as well pay the $7 million to Kolb if the alternative is paying a few million to someone not as good, or with less chance of becoming good.
Chex Norris (San Diego)
The 49ers have a young defense (besides Justin Smith) that should be intact for years. Do we take a developmental D-end first round or go for that risky WR as our pick?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
I really like the idea of making a strength even stronger. I'd much rather strengthen that front seven than take a long-shot chance on a wideout with big question marks. The 49ers are not going to win with an all-out aerial assault on offense. They do need to improve at receiver, but if they have a better shot at setting up the defensive front seven for the future, they'll get no complaints from me.
Steve (San Jose)
John Morgan, best wide receiver on team before he was injured last season. Why did the 49ers let him go?
Mike Sando (1:57 PM)
Because the Redskins were willing to overpay, and Morgan got to go home.
Why did it take the 49ers so long to release Spencer, and what is the future of Haralson with his $2.75m contract for what looks like a backup roll.
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
The 49ers were holding out hope that someone would trade for Shawntae Spencer. On Parys Haralson, I would think the team could carry that salary for another season while Aldon Smith establishes himself as an every-down player.
Steve (Washington, DC)
Does waiting so long to release Shawnte Spencer reflect poorly on the 49ers from the point of view of other free agents? In other words, might free agents be reluctant to sign with a team that would treat them that way or is it just part of the business?
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
Part of the business.
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat. Back to the blog.