NFC rumors: Last year for Johnson with 49ers?

INDIANAPOLIS - There are lots of rumors and information flowing here at the NFL Combine. Here's what is hearing this week regarding teams throughout the NFC:

49ERS: – According to a league source, look for this to be the last year that oft-injured TE Eric Johnson spends in a 49er uniform. He's set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2006 season. The 49ers would like to find a new tight end to take over the position this year, but need to keep Johnson around as insurance since he still is by far their best receiver at the position.

Arizona Cardinals: According to a team source, look for the Cardinals to focus on spending their free agent dollars on improving their offensive line. With lots of cap room, they may sign two impact players on the OL. The Cardinals, a big disappointment in 2005, need to start catching up with their NFC West rivals, and that's the place where they will start.

Carolina Panthers: According to his agent David Cantor, veteran RB Stephen Davis still wants to play and he hasn't gotten any indication that the team doesn't want him back. Still, it's possible that Davis is asked to take a pay cut in order to come back for another season, particularly after the team placed the transition tag on DeShaun Foster earlier this week.

Detroit Lions: While there were heavy rumors that the Lioins would release WR Charles Rogers, it seems that those rumors were unfounded. According to a team source, the team did request to get back his signing bonus but that was more to send him a message that he needed to get his act together. Rogers will be given every chance to win a starting job in training camp. Those close to the team say the new disciplined approach of the coaching staff is just what he needed.

Minnesota Vikings: If the team decides not to pick up the $6 million option for QB Daunte Culpepper, look for them to pursue San Diego Chargers QB Drew Brees, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent. The team feels he should be able to grasp the offense pretty quickly.

New York Giants: The team will look for depth at receiver in free agency. One player who is said to be on the Giants' radar is veteran free agent WR Corey Bradford, who the team talked to last year when he was unrestricted. The team feels they can't rely on oft-injured WR Tim Carter for the No. 3 role.

Philadelphia Eagles: noted that the team showed interest in Notre Dame WR Maurice Stovall at the Senior Bowl. That interest continues as we're hearing at least two high-ranking decision makers feel he could come in and play right away for a team that is lacking in top talent at the position.

Seattle Seahawks: A former NFL player who knows RB Shaun Alexander well told this week that Alexander won't hesitate to sign elsewhere if he can't reach a deal with the team. The ex-player said Alexander feels very disrespected by the team and hasn't ever gotten the impression that he was a high priority to re-sign. His agent, Jim Steiner, is scheduled to resume talks with Seattle this weekend at the combine.

St. Louis Rams: Look for the team to spend most if not all of its free-agent dollars on the defensive side of the ball. The Rams are looking for impact players on the defensive line and at linebacker.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: While he may have some interest in re-signing, the team has already decided that it will not re-sign inconsistent OT Kenyatta Walker. Look for the Bucs to sign a veteran free agent to replace him.

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