That's the phrase most often associated with Horace Greeley, but after the first few days of free agency it should be, "Leave the West as fast as you can." From the moment players and agents were officially able to talk with other teams on Friday (and considering how fast some of these contracts came together, you can't help but wonder if there wasn't some talk already happening), players have been running away from the NFC West as quick as they could. By far the team that's been hit the hardest has been the Cardinals. It started with the retirement of Kurt Warner, continued with the loss of Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby, and culminated with the trade of Anquan Boldin. The Boldin trade had to be the worst. The Cards shopped Boldin with the price tag of a 1st round pick before the start of last season and had no takers. This year they lowered the price to a 2nd round pick and the best they could get was a 3rd and a 4th, and even then the Cards had to throw in their own 5th round pick along with Boldin just to get that. Good job nickle and diming them Baltimore.
But there have been some new additions. Backup QB's AJ Feeley and David Carr have joined the fold. Although the later signing isn't good news for Shaun Hill and his biggest fan KSWOF. I can just hear him now, "I COULDN'T EVEN BUY HIS JERSEY!!!" And the Cards were able to lessen the blow of losing Rolle by trading away one of their 4th round picks and a 7th round pick in 2011 for Kerry Rhodes. Thanks a lot Jets. Didn't you get the memo that we're trying to get the Cards back in their familiar place, "Last"?
So far, the only team in the NFC West that's been trying to sign a big name player has been the Seahawks. Over the weekend they've been wining and dining the Broncos disgruntled WR Brandon Marshall in an effort to replace the loss of WR Nate Burleson. Marshall has a first round tender on him, so it's unlikely the Seahawks will sign him to an offer sheet since that will mean giving up the 6th overall pick in the draft. But they could make a deal with Denver. Unfortunately for them, the Bengals are now showing interest in Marshall as well. Since they have the 21st pick, they could sign him without having to work out a deal. Their interest could also drive up the final price of any contract Marshall signs. The Seahawks do have another 1st round pick, the 14th overall which they ironically got from Denver, so they could try to trade that one, but the Bengals interest does complicate things for them. Personally I'm hoping the Seahawks win the Marshall bidding war since I've seen what a head case WR can do to a team. I hear Pacman Jones is also looking for a new team. Why don't you add a head case CB while you're at it.
The Bengals interest in Marshall is also bad news for T.O. Right now, Owens doesn't have a lot of suitors, and the Bengals looked like his best bet on landing with a new team. Chad Ochocinco has been lobbying hard for him and even Carson Palmer gave this endorsement about playing with T.O., "I'd love to. His past doesn't bother me at all. If any QB can deal with extravagant WR's, it's me." I wonder if he'd say the same thing after playing with him for a year? Ochocinco might be extravagant, but he's still a team guy. He even offered to take a pay cut if it would help free up enough money to sign T.O. Maybe they're just saying all this because they desperately want to appear on "The T.O. Show". If the Bengals do end up signing Marshall, is there even another team out there that would even want T.O.? Maybe VH1 should have waited until he actually signed with another team before renewing the show for another season.
Out in Philadelphia, word has leaked out that the Eagles plan on paying Michael Vick his 1.5 million dollar contract bonus. This means that the Eagles will still have 3 QB's who could be starters, while the Browns still wish they just had one. The Eagles can still trade Vick and Vick has even said he wants to play somewhere he could start. The Eagles are looking for a second round pick, but in a draft as deep as this years it seems unlikely they'll get that. Besides, why trade a second round pick for Vick when you can use that pick to draft Tim Tebow? He's almost the same kind of QB as Vick only without the dog killing conviction on his resume. Plus, he comes withthe added bonus of having interesting Bible verses written on the black tape under his eyes. That has to be right up there with political bumper stickers. If you can sum up your political opinions on a bumper sticker, you may want to think them through a little more.
Finally, it looks like Ben Roethlisberger has found a lawyer to defend him against the latest sexual assault charges filled against him. It's the second time in less than a year Roethlisberger has been accused of sexual assault. Last summer, Big Ben was sued by a 31 year old Lake Tahoe hotel worker who claimed he rapped her. She never filed criminal charges, but she does have an ongoing civil law suit. Now, a 20 year old college student in Milledgeville GA is filling criminal charges against him for sexually assaulting her in a bathroom of a club they had been hanging out in. Roethlisberger has hired high profile Atlanta criminal attorney, Ed Garland. Garland is the same attorney who represented rapper T.I. (who?) and Ray Lewis. Roethlisberger is hoping that Garland will be able to prove once again that all you need to get a fair trial in America is a really high priced lawyer.