Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFL Insider 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 (12:59 PM)
Greetings. We'll get going here momentarily.
Ed (Queens Village)
How big of a loss is Sean Weatherspoon to Falcons?
Mike Sando (1:01 PM)
I think any front-line talent loss is significant for that defense. The Falcons did draft a couple linebackers in the middle rounds. They are considering some veteran fallback options. There are other positions more important to the team, but Weatherspoon ideally would have been a top-tier player for them. Now, they will probably be below average at the position and without the depth they would have otherwise enjoyed.
desmond (san jose )
can you see the niners d dropping off to the 15-20 rank without their best two players to start the season ! lets be real dan skuta and Michael wilhoite wouldn't start for any other team in the nfl but the niners love them ! also you expect the offense to pick up the slack for the potential middle of the road defense ?
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
I think you are probably overstating it some, but I do think the gap between offense and defense is going to be closing for the 49ers. This will partly be because the offense should improve, but also because of the short-term defensive issues you referenced, plus some of the longer-term issues (unless some of the untested players become suitable replacements for Justin Smith, for example).
With the Falcons losing Weatherspoon for the season, could they look to trade for a middle 'backer? If so, who could some potential targets be? I know that Baltimore really likes Arthur Brown, but, with drafting CJ Mosley and signing Daryl Smith to a 4-year deal, there isn't much playing time available to him, at the moment. Could he be a possible trade target?
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Others teams have also suffered injuries to inside linebackers (Sean Lee and NaVorro Bowman are two high-profile ILBs rehabbing from major injuries). I don't know what the Falcons would be willing to pay for one, but I'm skeptical about the supply.
dorian (seatlle )
im a sehawk fan but im wondering I see a lot of fellow hawks fans gloating that Wilson's contract is gonna dwarf the kaepernick deal but in the bottom line doesn't that work out better for the niners than for the Seahawks going forward ?
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
Yes, it would work out better for the 49ers that way. I do think Wilson will get more full guarantees, and the Seahawks will not get the same structure that the 49ers got on their QB deal. But those are small details if the QBs at a high level.
How likely is it that Tannehill survives through this year but that the coaching staff doesn't?
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
That seems pretty likely given the broader context down there. I would think Miami could still be in the .500 range where you're not sure what is going to happen, particularly if you miss the playoffs. I think staying the course could wind up being the smart way to go, though, as long as Philbin grows in the role and doesn't botch anything terribly. They have a fair amount of hope invested in Tannehill and need to make him a priority.
If Lynch doenst get a new deal will he want a trade or will he hold out
Mike Sando (1:15 PM)
It's all speculation. One thought came to my mind and could be of interest. There was talk last season in the locker room that Lynch had told teammates he would retire if the team won the Super Bowl. He could have just been talking, but if he were thinking along those lines, he could be one of those players who will continue playing -- but only if the price is really right. I remember Ricky Watters could have kept playing, but he wasn't going to play unless the money was really good. Cortez Kennedy had chances to keep playing, but wasn't going to do it just to do it. All three of those guys saved their money, to my knowledge, so they were ultimately in control.
Leon King (SE.GA)
what are the odds that in 5 yrs and a coupla months, Brian Urlacher is wearing a gold jacket and making an acceptance speech?
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
I have not looked at which other players will be eligible that year, but I would sure think Urlacher would have a great chance.
Leon King (SE.GA)
What is your feel for the Titans as a dark horse wild card team? All dependant on Whiz taking Locker to the next level, but there are some very nice under-rated players there...
Mike Sando (1:17 PM)
They're a team people aren't excited about, which makes them a good sleeper candidate. I think they might have gotten worse at QB this year, though. You are right that much depends on Locker, but I think Locker and Fitzpatrick was probably better than Locker and Whitehurst, and I also think there's a decent chance they'll need more than one QB. One thing about Whisenhunt is that he had teams in that .500 range as long as they had halfway decent QB play. So if he can get that, the Titans could surprise some. I just have a hard time seeing them better than .500.
Mike, a lot of talk has been made over the roster rankings that were recently released on ESPN, mainly the rams at #31 overall. With perhaps the best d line in football, at first glance where do you think there overall roster should fall in comparison to the rest of the league? 17-13 overall?
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
The most important thing in that exercise is to understand how the rankings are put together. Did they use 2013 player grades for players currently on the rosters? Also, what is the gap between 31 and 21? I do think 31 sounds too low, but someone has to be down there, and the Rams do have some question marks in terms of less proven players.
The writing is on the wall. Lynch is time is almost up in Seattle. He makes too much next season and counts for $9 mill against the cap in his final season when he will be 29. Michael looks like a stud and is the future of the team. Do you think Lynch is on the team beyond 2015?
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
I thought all along they would try to get three years out of him after signing him to the five-year deal, in which case 2014 was going to be the last year. They certainly would have taken two years and a Super Bowl instead of three years without one. While it is too early to know what will happen here or what is even going on here, Seattle won the Super Bowl, so there is no pressure on the team to make Lynch happy. He can join them or not, pretty much. No way will they give him a new deal. Now, could he get some 2014 guarantees? Too early to say. Gotta see how the other backs look deeper into the summer.
will eye am [via mobile]
Realistically speaking and injuries aside, what would be a good season for my rams? Playoffs? Over 7 wins? Considering the division, if they missed the playoffs but got over 500, is that a bad year?
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
8-8 or better is a good season, in my view. They have not been .500 or better since 2006, as I recall.
Dave (Wayne, NJ)
Hi Mike! How hard should Roger Goodell come down on Jim Irsay? Thanks!
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
I feel as though draft choices would speak loudly here, moreso that money, which isn't a factor for someone such as Irsay. Even a $5 million fine would not affect his lifestyle in any way. Taking away a draft choice would really hurt him where it matters. I do not know if that is on the table because Irsay did not do something violating the competitive spirit of the league.
Lions fan here will Shu and he Lions get a deal done or will he walk? and how mich $ should he get
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
I don't see how you let that kind of talent walk unless the new coaching staff cannot deal with him or tolerate certain things we cannot see from the outside. They've gotten themselves into a bind with these contracts. I think Suh should be paid at the top of the scale for his position.
will eye am [via mobile]
What were you thoughts about the commercial directed at the team name in dc?
Mike Sando (1:26 PM)
I did not see it, but it feels to me like a name change is ultimately inevitable.
Where do you stand in regards to Brady, still a top 5 QB, as long as he wins he's your QB, obvious decline, etc?
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
I do think he is at that top-five level, but I also think last year showed he cannot just magically produce no matter what. He had some really challenging personnel situations at receiver and tight end. That was tough to overcome early. His production did spike late in the year. I think he's what you want at the position, especially if they have decent weapons. They could really use someone to be a consistent outside threat.
Jake (Las Vegas)
Shouldn't fans be happy about Kap's new deal? If that's how the contracts are going to be structured going forward, that benefits teams and by extension fans, now players can't just loaf around and fall back on that cap hit being a deterrent. Motivated players are good for the league!
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
Yeah, I think those types of deals are great for the league and great for teams. It's bad for both when teams get upside down with the salary cap and have to make moves for the wrong reasons.
3 years from now, will Christine Michael be one of the top 10 RB's in the league?
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
That probably depends a lot on how good the other backs will be at that time, which is unknowable. I've seen some good things from him but how will he react to pounding down after down? Cannot know til we see it.
will eye am [via mobile]
Sam Bradford: overrated, underrated, or is the jury still out? If the jury is still out, is it his fault, per se, or rather a product of the terrible team he inherited?
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
It's been a combination of a bad situation (horrible roster around him, with a bad OL), bad luck (the ACL injury last season and a brutal NFC West packed with tough defenses), bad coaching dynamics (multiple coordinators) and also a case of Bradford not being able to transcend those things, even briefly. He has rarely had the "wow" game. I do think the jury is out but the evidence makes me feel as though the ceiling is lower than the Rams hoped it might have been.
Do you think the rookies lineman the Bears drafted can step in and play immediate roles? If not, I'm concerned that they're once again an injury or two away from the league's worst run defense again.
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
It's realistic to expect them to be rotation players and probably unrealistic to expect them to be big difference-makers. I'd say it's a transition year and your concerns are founded.
What's he earliest you think we see Bortles? Would that be bad news for the Jags season if so?
Mike Sando (1:38 PM)
Unless Chad Henne plays great and has the team in the playoff hunt, I would want to see Blake Bortles at some point in the second half of the season, just to have a better feel going into the 2015 season, when he will be the presumed starter. I'd say it's bad if he is starting in the first 7-8 games and then not bad, but less than ideal if he is not starting over the final month. I think Henne will be decent enough to get them through the first half of the season.
If the lions dont make the playoffs this year will the lions draft a QB in the first Rd 2015 or will they give stafford another chance to be mediocre
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
I think Matt Stafford has more than the 2014 season to be good under Jim Caldwell (unless he is brutally horrible, which he has not been to this point).
Do teams look at a players agent before drafting them? I'm sure talent is most important, and fit as well, but knowing that a player might mainly be all about the most dollars should impact a teams decision, right?
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
I don't think so unless all else was equal, meaning the team had another comparable option. A team will generally go for the best player and live with the agent.
Do you think the league as a whole, and specifically the Texans, have overreacted to Schuab's past season? He has one down year and suddenly he's garbage? I was surprised the Raiders were the only team that wanted him, albeit at that price.
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
There was a financial component, though, and then with a new coaching staff, they wanted a fresh start. The feeling was that Matt Schaub maybe could not be successful there in Houston. I agree with your general thinking that Schaub could still be better than what they have, but he also would have been tons more expensive, and maybe not a good value.
Eric (Brunswick, GA)
I wonder what your opinion is on the Falcons along the trenches now. TD has done a lot this off season to address their weak interior play and I wonder if its been enough?
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
I'm cautiously optimistic for the Falcons and think the primary criticism was that Atlanta paid too much for some guys in free agency. Getting Jake Matthews seems huge for the offensive line.
Jordan (Herndon, VA)
How do you think the partnership between Flacco and Kubiak will work out? Kubiak said he was surprised by Flacco's athleticism.
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
I think it's great as long as Kubiak's arrival helps jump-start the running game, which was generally Flacco's friend (along with a good defense). Flacco is also more athletic that he appears at first glance. He looks like a big, tall guy who would be a lumberer, but he moves pretty well and did so at the combine. What I want to see is to what degree Kubiak owns the offense and takes full control of it, including of Flacco.
If Seattle was to cut Lynch outright, wouldn't it be hard for him to get any kind of decent deal? Most teams don't have a lot of cap room now and he's getting up there in age
Mike Sando (1:46 PM)
If he wants to play, I think he would play in Seattle. I do not see him getting a huge raise elsewhere, and neither do I see the Seahawks cutting him in the short term. They could just withhold money from him while he stays away, if he does stay away.
will eye am [via mobile]
What qb, that had faced similar circumstances, prospered in that type of situation?
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
If you are still talking about Bradford, it's a short list. It might not exist. Steve Young is a good example. Bad situation in Tampa Bay. Great situation in San Francisco. Big impact on his career. Stafford had some rough circumstances but also got Calvin Johnson, a big help. He did walk into a terrible situation, though.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI)
Mike, I think it was you I posed the question to about if a quarterback is serious about only caring about winning, he should take a contract that backs that statement up. Lo and behold, Colin Kaepernick either has a terrible agent, or he did exactly as I was describing. Will this be the new line of thinking amoung the young quarterbacks like Newton, Luck, Wilson, etc., or do you think it more reflects on Kaepernick's unique character? I know he has proven probably the least of all the young guys, but it's still very clear he could have gotten more money.
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
I believe Colin Kaepernick and his agent tried to get the best possible deal they could get, and then made some big concessions on structure to get a relatively high annual average and some money in his pocket right now. I do not believe players just take one for the team. People tried to say Tom Brady did that, and I suppose on some level he did, but he also got something like $57 million guaranteed, including fully guaranteed money due to him years down the road, when he will be pushing 40, and he still reserved the right to renegotiate if the cap goes up.
will eye am [via mobile]
A lot of people are of the mindset that Sam Bradford is not the answer in St Louis. Looking back, should they have picked him? Considering the qbs that came out with him, he was clearly the best option and rg3 hasn't done enough to say they should have picked him instead
Mike Sando (1:52 PM)
They had the No. 1 pick when Sam Bradford was the guy they needed to take. The main regret should be that they haven't supported him well enough and he's been hurt. I think they would take him again if they could and just try to do a better job around him.
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat. I need to run a couple minutes ahead of schedule here. Thanks.