Open market looming: FAs around the NFC West

Thursday is the calm before the storm as the NFL prepares for the crush of free agency. The action starts when the bell rings on the open market late Friday, with the 49ers in as good or better shape than most teams - particularly in the NFC West - to both pursue and retain the individuals they want. With the FA signing period looming, here are where S.F.'s divisional rivals stand in regards to franchise & transition players, unrestricted & restricted FAs and players already signed and released.



TRANSITION PLAYER: OG Steve Hutchinson (tendered at $6.391 million)


--- DL Rodney Bailey was a valuable role player as the season progressed. He's the type of high-effort guy the Seahawks like.

--- LB Kevin Bentley started a few games but wasn't a consistent playmaker. He remains a minimum-type player.

--- DT Rocky Bernard has a chance to make big money in free agency. He might be wise to test the market. Seattle would have to think long and hard before committing huge money to a player who put together one solid season.

--- TE Ryan Hannam is a nice compliment to TE Jerramy Stevens. Hannam blocks exceptionally well and catches the ball despite lacking range. A history of knee injuries makes him a bit of a risk.

--- FS John Howell finished the season on injured reserve. He is more of a special-teams player than an every-down defensive back.

--- WR Joe Jurevicius will get a big salary bump after catching 10 TD passes last season. The Seahawks will make an effort to keep him, but he could be a hot commodity in a weak crop of FA receivers The 49ers could be interested at the right price.

--- FS Marquand Manuel had a great season for a guy who came to Seattle off waivers from Cincinnati before the 2004 season. He fits into the Seahawks' plans but probably won't command big money.

--- RB Maurice Morris will have some options in free agency. Seattle would like to re-sign him as a top backup because he knows the offense and catches the ball well out of the backfield.

--- P Tom Rouen still has some pop left in his leg. He was able to stay healthy last season, but he's still a guy who will sign for close to the veterans' minimum.

--- FB Mack Strong went to the Pro Bowl for the first time. He turns 35 this coming season. His age and position will prevent him from drawing a lucrative contract. Seattle wants him back.

--- DE Joe Tafoya was a big-time contributor on special teams and more than serviceable as a backup end. Seattle wants him back.

--- WR Peter Warrick improved as the season went along but long-term health remains a concern. If the Seahawks re-sign him, it won't be to a big contract.

--- CB Jimmy Williams, a former 49er who played for both the Saints and Seahawks last season, could return as a minimum-type player, but Seattle should be able to get younger and fresher in the secondary.


--- K Josh Brown could command some interest in the restricted market but Seattle would probably match most offers.

--- LT Wayne Hunter hasn't been able to stay healthy. He has also had some off-field concerns. That combination won't endear him to anyone, although Hunter does have talent.

--- QB Seneca Wallace appears destined to return in some capacity. He could play more receiver if the team signs a veteran backup.


--- RB Shaun Alexander has reached a long-term agreement with the Seahawks that will make him one of the best-paid running backs in NFL history.


--- CB Andre Dyson (released).

--- LB Jamie Sharper (released; failed physical/knee)




--- SS Adam Archuleta regressed last two years because of back injury and concussions, but the new coaches are hoping he will stay. If not, he will attract interest from several teams on the open market.

--- P Bryan Barker gave the Rams solid punting after rookie Reggie Hodges failed. They should re-sign him.

--- RB Aveion Cason was active for just two games, but looked good in season finale against Dallas. He might be re-signed.

--- CB Terry Fair ended season on injured reserve with neck injury. He wants to keep playing, but it probably won't be in St. Louis.

--- CB Corey Ivy only lacks size, which keeps him from being an excellent player, but he is fundamentally sound and good on special teams. He should be re-signed.

--- DE Tyoka Jackson doesn't have a lot of years left, but he provides good veteran leadership.

--- DT Damione Lewis hasn't lived up to being the 12th overall pick in the draft, but he's still solid. He could be re-signed at a reasonable rate.

--- QB Jamie Martin is solid as a backup, but whether he stays will depend on the new coaching staff.

--- G Tom Nutten will probably retire, for good this time.

--- NT Ryan Pickett will be expensive, but he does his job consistently. If Pickett leaves, somehow he'll have to be replaced.

--- OL Rex Tucker could be back for depth.

--- TE Roland Williams missed most of season with knee injury, and his return is unlikely.


--- WR Kevin Curtis is a keeper. The Rams must decide whether to place tender on him that would bring a first-round pick as compensation.

--S Mike Furrey became a playmaker after switch from wide receiver, but needs lots of work on tackling.

--DE Brandon Green is a high-motor guy that is good for depth.

--CB DeJuan Groce is a solid corner that doesn't offer a lot in run support.

--RB Arlen Harris is a decent backup and tough player that warrants a look from new coach.

--CB Chris Johnson is very raw, but shows flashes of ability.

--WR Shaun McDonald is tough for his size, and should have a continued role in passing offense.


--- LS Chris Massey: Potential UFA; $2.73M/4 yrs, $300,000 SB.

--- OG Blaine Saipaia: Potential ERFA; $385,000/1 yr.

--- QB Jeff Smoker: Potential ERFA; $385,000/1 yr.

--- LB Drew Wahlroos: Potential ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.


--- LB Chris Claiborne (released; failed physical/knee).

--- WR Isaac Bruce (released).





--- T Ian Allen is nothing more than a low-level backup.

--- FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo is a two-year starter who is good receiver but fair blocker; he's moderate priority to re-sign.

--- FB Jarrod Baxter is a third-stringer; unlikely to be re-signed.

--- DE Antonio Cochran was signed last year only because of widespread injuries; unlikely to be re-signed.

--- C Billy Conaty was a fine fill-in when three other centers went down; unlikely to be re-signed.

--- DT Russell Davis is a long-time starter despite being a bit undersize; a high priority.

--- G Adam Haayer is a decent depth player; likely to be re-signed.

--- FS Quentin Harris is a backup but a young talent worth developing; likely to be re-signed.

--- RB James Jackson was No. 4 back; could be re-signed depending on what others do.

--- LB Eric Johnson is nothing more than a low-level backup.

--- TE Teyo Johnson is nothing more than a low-level backup.

--- DT Ross Kolodziej, a former 49er, is a good backup who can start in a pinch; likely to be re-signed.

--- WR Charles Lee is a fifth receiver; low priority.

--- QB Josh McCown is a strong backup who has had good success as a fill-in starter, but he is expected to test free-agency market; team likely would re-sign him if he is agreeable.

--- DT Langston Moore was in the rotation when sidelined by injury for the season; could be re-signed.

--- FB Harold Morrow is nothing more than a low-level backup.

--- WR/PR J.J. Moses is nothing more than a low-level backup.

--- RB J.R. Redmond missed the year to injury but can be a valuable third-down back; may be re-signed.

--- WR/KR Reggie Swinton rarely played as a receiver and was high-average as a return man; may be re-signed.

--- DE R-Kal Truluck was signed late in the year when injuries were taking a toll; not likely to be re-signed.

--- CB Raymond Walls is a decent backup at area of shortage; likely to be re-signed.


--- CB Dyshod Carter is a young developing player who now has intrigued two Cardinals coaching staffs but has not yet broken through for regular playing time.

--- LB Gerald Hayes is the likely 2006 starter at middle linebacker after suffering an injury that wiped out 2005.

--- DT Kenny King is a stud when healthy and could move back into the lineup if he gets past wrist problems that essentially shelved him the past two seasons.

--- G Reggie Wells is a two-year starter but not a world-beater on a line that is likely to undergo a major makeover.


--- QB Kurt Warner: Potential UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

--- CB Robert Tate: Potential UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

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