I’ve always said free agency is much more interesting after the first week is over. Once the Julius Peppers and Antrel Rolles (the highest paid players in their positions… I still have trouble believing it) are signed, you see the transactions which will really help teams win. Teams that spend like crazy have been very unsuccessful for the last decade because they have failed to build through the draft and supplement those picks with low cost, high value free agents. The most interesting movies come after the big free agents are gone and that is even more true with the NFC West.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks and the Cardinals both are trying to woo Chargers’ restricted free agent Charlie Whitehurst. Whitehurst was a 3rd round pick in 2006 by the Chargers and is tendered at a 3rd round pick. The Seahawks and Cardinals have both reportedly offered a contract to Whitehurst and waiting for him to decide. The Hawks have reportedly come to an agreement with the Chargers in which they would send something lower than a 3rd round pick. This trade is dependent on Whitehurst accepting the Seahawks’ offer. Our friends at Field Gulls have a good report on Whitehurst here. Whitehurst is expected to compete with Matt Hasselbeck for the starting job. He replaces Seneca Wallace in the depth chart, who was traded to the Browns earlier in the week. In other free agent news the Seahawks have also signed former Patriot Chris Baker to a 2 year deal. Baker has been with the Patriots and Jets for the last 8 years and was signed after the Hawks failed to sign the player in front of him on the depth chart in New England, Ben Watson.
San Francisco 49ers: The big news in San Francisco today is the trade of the most winningest QB on their depth chart. Shaun Hill, who was expected to be cut very soon, was traded to the Detroit Lions for a 2011 7th round pick. Hill was 10-6 as a starter in San Francisco, a remarkable record he was not expected to repeat this year. Alex Smith was projected as the starter going into next year anyway, and with the signing of David Carr, Hill became expendable. Other than this, the only thing going on in San Francisco this week was Patrick Willis’ attempt to reconcile with new teammate David Carr. Willis, the leader of a talented Niners defense, posted on his Twitter that the Niners had no use for David Carr and that they already had two QBs with more talent. He later took back those statements and said he would embrace David Carr with open arms.
St. Louis Rams: The Rams had very little activity this week, but did sign their 3rd 30+ year old player. Center Hank Fraley signed with the team, following up on coach Steve Spagnulo’s desire for older players. The Rams are one of the youngest teams in the league, especially at their skill positions (QB and WR). Fraley is the third 30 year old the Rams have signed, after A.J. Feeley and Fred Robbins. The Rams are also in early discussions to trade former first round pick Adam Carriker to the Washington Redskins. Carriker has basically been a bust in St. Louis and the Rams would not lose much in trading him. It is possible that they could offer enough value to receive QB Jason Campbell in return. Campbell has been labeled by many as a bust in Washington, but he has his believers around the league. A potential Carriker + 3rd round pick might be enough to get Campbell. Since the Rams have the first pick in every round, their 3rd rounder is almost the same value wise as a late 2nd rounder. I’ll keep reading about this story and report back next week.
That’s it for this week. Not much has gone on as teams prepare for the draft. Check back next week when I will devote Fly Around the NFC West to the teams’ draft plans. We’ll go through potential 1st round picks, trade rumors, and other news.