The First Moves The NFC West Could Make Once The Lockout Is Lifted

Some of you may have seen my post yesterday that talked about a checklist that the Arizona Cardinals should go through once the lockout is over. Today, as a complimentary piece, we will look at a list that was created by Brian McIntyre from Football Outsiders (ESPN Insider) in regards to what every team should do post-lockout. 

For our own benefit, let's just look at the NFC West. Three of the four teams are in need of a stable starting quarterback and all of them could use some additional defensive aid. After the jump, you will find some quotes from McIntyre breaking down each team's proposed first move and my thoughts on each of them.  

Let's start with what might be the most hated division rival: the San Francisco 49ers. They have a new head coach in Jim Harbaugh and they are looking to have a monster year and finally make the playoffs with all of the talent that flows throughout their roster.

As far as what they need to do first, here is the take from ESPN:

Re-sign S Dashon Goldson

During the brief period when the lockout was lifted, the 49ers showed that quarterback Alex Smith is in their plans for 2011 by giving him a playbook. Re-signing the former first overall pick appears to be a fait accompli, which allows the 49ers to turn their attention toward re-signing Goldson, who has 174 tackles, three quarterback sacks, three forced fumbles and five interceptions as a starter the past two seasons.    

The San Francisco 49ers have had some struggles in the secondary, this much we know. Goldson and Nate Clements (who could be cut) are both slated for free agency and after them, there is too many question marks. Taylor Mays is a liability in coverage and Shawntae Spencer is expensive for his production. Having a guy like Goldson on your team provides some building blocks for the 49ers as they search for a shutdown corner and another reliable safety. 

Secondly, let's take a look at the Seattle Seahawks. Here's McIntye's opinion:

Re-sign QB Matt Hasselbeck 

With the Seahawks poised to start one of the league's youngest offensive lines in 2011, they will want to have an experienced veteran under center. Too many roster holes remain unfilled to part with valuable draft picks for a Kolb or a Palmer, making re-signing Hasselbeck to a two-year deal the more sensible option.    

For me, this is the most logical thing the Seahawks could do. They have already overpaid for the ineffective Charlie Whitehurst and they probably should think twice before they gamble on another quarterback on the trading block. Signing Matt Hasselbeck to keep the Seahawks in contention for the division (that's sad to say) is probably the best course of action. A huge crop of rookie quarterbacks should be in the draft next season, so maybe that would be a better time to search for that franchise guy. If they still end the season with a poor record, guys like Landry Jones, Matt Barkley and Nick Foles should all be available in the first round. 

Before we move on to the Cardinals, let's take a look at the Rams:

Sign RB Darren Sproles 

Reducing Steven Jackson's workload was an offseason priority for the Rams, who passed on adding a running back in the draft. Bush could be an option if he's set free by the Saints, but Sproles has ranked in the top five in receiving DYAR among running backs in each of the past three seasons and could be an ideal third-down back in Josh McDaniels' offense.    

And this is where we disagree, Mr. McIntyre. To me, Darren Sproles isn't much more than a terrific special teams player. Yes, he has shown that he can be an effective third down running back as he is a great receiver out of the backfield, but he may look for more money than someone will want to pay him. Reggie Bush is a very good option, but again, he will be expensive. How about another Bush for St. Louis? Michael Bush from the Oakland Raiders is set to test free agency, why not give his agent a call? I think he would work out well in Missouri given his durability and willingness to be the second back behind a superstar. 

Finally, the moment you've all been waiting for... Football Outsiders idea on the first move the Arizona Cardinals should make post-lockout:

Trade for QB Kevin Kolb

Of the 46 quarterbacks with more than 100 passes in 2010, Cardinals quarterbacks Derek Anderson and John Skelton ranked 41st and 45th, respectively, in DYAR. Arizona chose to not add a quarterback in the 2011 draft, which means the Cardinals should attempt to acquire Kolb from thePhiladelphia Eagles. The 26-year-old Kolb is only one year younger than Larry Fitzgerald, and the two could form a formidable QB-WR connection for years to come.    

This has been the prominent topic around the NFL world for months now. Will the Cardinals trade for Kevin Kolb? Soon, we will know, but should it be the first move they make? Sorry anti-Kolbers, but I say yes. Even if Kolb is not your cup of tea, the Cardinals desperately need a quarterback. John Skelton is not equipped to be a starter in this league and the coaching staff and front office all know this.

Getting a guy -- no matter how inexperienced he may be -- that has some time in the NFL under his belt is imperative. Kolb has been an understudy to the QB guru, Andy Reid for a few years, it could be time to see what he is made of. It is a big risk for the Cardinals to sign him, but it could yield astronomical results. 

So there you have it folks. What do you think each of these teams should do first? Do you agree with Jason McIntyre or should the NFC West teams go a different way? You decide. 

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