Chat wrap: Free-agent options for Rams

Michael Crabtree's mostly underwhelming second NFL season and the San Francisco 49ers' recent coaching change surely contributed to one NFC West chat question about the receiver's future.

I'll break out something on that subject separately on the blog. In the meantime, a few chat highlights:

Dan Grimm (Ojai, Calif.): Mike, what do you make of the Mebane situation playing out for Seattle? I understand he's not worth big big franchise type of money, but is there any viable options if he walks? I was surprised that he threw teammates under the bus when talking about his own production and stated that he wasn't in the plans for the team.

Mike Sando: Brandon Mebane's situation is a classic example of what happens when new leadership takes over. The new leadership values inherited players only to a point. The new leadership hears about how great Mebane can be, shrugs a little bit and says to itself, 'We'll be fine either way.' Seattle values Mebane more after not addressing the defensive tackle position in the draft, but the team isn't going to back up the Brinks truck, either.

Chris (Phoenix, Ariz.): Hey Mike, long-time reader, first-time asker. Let's say the Cards get Kevin Kolb or Carson Palmer. Would they still try to sign Marc Bulger? And if they do, does that mean Max Hall and Richard Bartel are out?

Mike Sando: Thanks for calling the program. I'm seeing Bulger as more of a fallback in case the team doesn't find a better option. But there have been longstanding questions about what Bulger wants from football at this stage of his career. Would he jump at the chance to sign with Arizona and become a starter? And would the Cardinals still want him if they had other, younger options? To answer the last part of your question, I do not think Bulger would come to Arizona as a backup.

Ben (Toledo): Does Amendola become the new Wes Welker (100+ catches a year) in STL with McDaniels? Everyone said that Eddie Royal would in Denver, but that never happened.

Mike Sando: Seems like "the new Wes Welker" candidates crop up everywhere. Amendola fits the profile exceptionally given that he's smaller, plays the slot effectively and is coming off an 85-catch season. A.J. Feeley was calling him a Welker clone in camp last summer. Amendola is a little taller than Welker, but they are both 185-pounders with the ability to catch lots of shorter passes. Welker, before his injury, was much more productive than Amendola has been, but some of that comes down to opportunities. With Sam Bradford having a year of experience, with Josh McDaniels taking over the offense, with the Rams having more depth around Amendola at receiver, yes, I could see Amendola approaching 100 receptions in 2011.

Ciscoskid (San Francisco): First, I can't believe the 49ers were not on the list of best helmets, but the Browns were. Really? Next, I don't feel like Michael Crabtree is a good fit for the 49ers. I also don't really see him staying with the 49ers long term. I get the feeling he will wait for free agency and bolt to Dallas if he can. Would the 49ers entertain trading him or is it too soon?

Mike Sando: On helmets, to each his own. I don't have strong opinions on that subject. Crabtree's situation will be fascinating to watch, I think. He showed up as a rookie eager and willing to learn. He seemed less engaged last season and I'm not sure what was going on there. The little tiff with Vernon Davis seemed weird. Watching the games, Crabtree sometimes appeared like something wasn't sitting well with him. Jim Harbaugh is going to require full engagement from his receivers. He'll require them to block. This is a subject I'd like to investigate a little more. Maybe I'll reach out to Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. for some thoughts. Thanks for the idea.