Reading between lines on new contracts

The San Francisco 49ers spent the past couple years extending contracts for key players such as Joe Staley, Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis.

The deals affirmed those players' status as people the organization wanted to build around.

The 49ers' NFC West rivals have been busy extending contracts more recently. A look at what the latest deals mean for the players and their teams:

  • Arizona Cardinals: Strong safety Adrian Wilson sent a message to his teammates by accepting a contract extension that reduced his salary. Wilson has been with the organization since 2001. He's a five-time Pro Bowl choice coming off a strong season. When a player of Wilson's stature and ability accepts a pay cut, he's affirming his belief in the organization. The example should make it easier for less established players to buy into what the Cardinals are trying to accomplish. Earlier this offseason, the Cardinals reached a long-term deal with defensive end Calais Campbell, another positive move.

  • St. Louis Rams: Chris Long's new four-year extension with the Rams suggests the fifth-year defensive end is eager to stick with the organization now that Jeff Fisher has taken over as head coach. Long had 13 sacks last season. His sack totals have increased every year. He could have played out the final year of his rookie deal with an eye toward reaching free agency and getting out of town. The Rams have identified Long as a player to build around. Long has identified the Rams as a team on the rise. Teammate James Laurinaitis appears next in line.

  • Seattle Seahawks: Deals for Red Bryant, Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger and Chris Clemons brought clarity to the roster for this season and beyond. Coach Pete Carroll highlighted those deals as evidence the team would take care of productive players. Carroll and general manager John Schneider inherited Bryant and Unger from the previous regime. Neither was an established player, but both have grown into important roles. Re-signing those players in particular showed Carroll and Schneider kept an open mind while turning over the roster during their first season-plus on the job. They weren't set on rewarding only their own guys, in other words.