The San Francisco 49ers have provided us plenty to talk about over the past week, what with an impending Anquan Boldin extension and a maybe-maybe-not Jim Harbaugh trade proposal. The rest of the NFC West isn't just lounging with their off-season, though. There are interesting things happening with all four teams that could impact the divisional race for 2014 and beyond. We're going to try and regularly take a look around the division to see what's going down.
Our friends over at Revenge of the Birds are talking about a potential contract extension for LB Karlos Dansby. In his second stint with the Cards, Dansby, 32, is looking for a big contract after a productive year with Arizona's solid defense. While the club has some cap space to work with, they're looking to make strides in their pursuit of the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. It'll be interesting to see if they can get something done, and for how much.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians believes Heath Miller is the best tight end in football. He also still has faith in QB Carson Palmer. Arizona is in a trick spot. Palmer, 34, isn't getting any younger, and is long departed from his prime with the Bengals. However, the team may need to lean on him for another year or two as they use their early round picks on other talent to fill out the squad. A project quarterback with projectables could be an option for them in the latter rounds.
Seattle Seahawks (Field Gulls)
The defending division and Super Bowl champs have been looking for ways to keep their title team core in place. One move that perhaps was not expected is a reported release of Red Bryant so the team can have some cap space to make a run at retaining the services of Michael Bennett.
The Hawks are carefully crafting their roster and payroll in a way that will allow them retain QB Russell Wilson, CB Richard Sherman and S Earl Thomas. Those three players will earn big bucks in the upper echelons of their respective positions. It had been widely assumed that Bennett, 28, would be a cap casualty. However, perhaps Seattle has decided not to lose a player -- who they originally tabbed as a UDFA in 2009 -- for a second time. Both players were integral in Seattle's pass rush, but as Danny Kelly over at Field goals noted, his role lessened as the club opted for more of a three-man front.
The Seahawks' other big news -- which really isn't that big, or shocking -- this past week, is that the team plans to cut WR Sidney Rice. In his three years in Seattle after coming over from the Minnesota Vikings in 2011, the 27-year-old Rice has only played one full season (2012), and has never had the big impact they expected. Sandwiching that 2011 campaign were eight- and nine-game seasons that were each interrupted by injury. Still owed $17.5 million in base salary over the next two years, the move will save the Seahawks $7.3 million in cap space.
A presumed roster cut, CB Cortland Finnegan may not actually be going anywhere. Turf Show Times takes a look at some comments from coach Jeff Fisher and speculates about a possible restructure to keep Finnegan around. This could all just be talk, however. With a draft deep in the secondary, and the Rams holding two of the top 13 selections, there's still plenty of time for Finnegan to become a cap casualty.
St. Louis brass met with Rodger Saffold's agent at the combine. Though Saffold has been a bit dinged up over his career -- recording nine-, 10- and 12-game seasons after his full, 16-game rookie campaign -- he's only 25 years old and provides the team with a ton of versatility along the offensive line. It's common for teams to meet agents at the combine, but this could signify a priority for the Rams.