FORT WORTH, Texas -- The latest NFC West chat has come and gone, with continued emphasis on quarterback situations. Transcript here. Highlights below:
Steve (San Jose): Hey Mike, with the uncertainty of the CBA and David Carr being the only signed QB next year, what are the realistic odds that Alex Smith comes back? Jim Harbaugh is tactically praising him and it does seem that Alex did better when they played like a West Coast system, not in a run-first Singletary offense. I know this probably won't sit well with a lot of the fans, but he might be our best option since the QB draft class is weak and free agency may not happen until Week 1. Harbaugh would not be 'dragged down' by Smith like previous coaches because of the circumstances. What do you think?
Mike Sando: You have a good read on the situation, in my view. The 49ers know Alex Smith probably is not the long-term answer, but until they have the long-term answer, they need to sign or retain the best available players at the position. Smith was their best quarterback at the end of the season. The team gains nothing by parting with him unless it replaces him with something better. Smith will make the decision ultimately, however. We might have to see what other options he has before knowing whether he's an option in San Francisco. Note: Smith tossed one touchdown pass with 11 interceptions in 2005, his lone season in a West Coast system.
Bryan (Houston): What are your thoughts on who the Cards will target for DC. Who do you think they will be able to land?
Mike Sando: Keith Butler is the one I think could be most likely to land in Arizona. The Cardinals have been waiting patiently. Would Ken Whisenhunt do that if he did not think he could get Butler, the guy he wants? Perhaps he would. I'd put Butler as the favorite and then Todd Bowles of the Miami Dolphins as another option. Just my feel.
Kyle (St. Louis): Sand-O, love the work. With all of the talk of a new stadium being built in Los Angeles, I am becoming a little uneasy. Are the Rams a realistic candidate to move back to the West Coast? Their name has been rumored throughout along with a few other teams. With Kroenke assuming majority control of the team, that makes me feel a little better. But it is a business as we all know. Do I have reason to worry that the Rams might be heading out West in the near future? Thanks.
Mike Sando: Stan Kroenke has worked on the Los Angeles Stadium Working Committee, by the way, but I would not necessarily read a lot into that. The stadium is the issue for the Rams in the long term. The team can opt out of its lease in 2014 if the stadium fails to meet certain standards. The feeling is that the stadium will not rank high enough among NFL stadiums in overall quality to prevent the Rams from opting out. And if the Rams opt out, sure, relocation could be a consideration.
Fletch (Tallahassee): Hey Mike , just wanted to get your thoughts on the Seahawks and the draft. I don't think QB is as crucial as most, yes it's not the ideal situation right now, but I think there is value in the middle rounds especially if Ponder falls to the third (I know they don't have a third). I would much rather see them strengthen the lines and re-sign Hasselback.
Mike Sando: I guess it depends upon how picky one thinks the Seahawks should be when lining up that next quarterback. For example, I understood why the Seahawks did not select Mark Sanchez with the fourth overall choice. That decision could wind up being wrong. It does not look like a good one now. But if the team thought Sanchez would not become the answer, why invest such a high pick in him? I do think Seattle has enough needs on the lines to invest their first -- unless Seattle thinks it has a chance to draft a true franchise QB. The status quo at quarterback was not a great option last season.
I'll be heading over to the Super Bowl media center shortly. Still working on that item about the 49ers. Thanks for all your feedback.