OFF-SEASON TRACKER: NFC WEST – UPDATED

Our off-season trackers cover all of the important moves that each team makes between the end of the 2016 season and the start of the 2017 one.

logo-cardinals ARIZONA CARDINALS

SIGNED: Antoine Bethea – Bethea was a major contributor in the 49ers beleaguered secondary and should have a quieter – and more productive – life in Arizona.

SIGNED: Karlos Dansby – A major upgrade as the Cards acquire one of the best linebackers genuinely available in free agency.

SIGNED: Jarvis Jones – The Cards added to the defensive line by signing the former first round pick away from the Steelers. (14/3)

FRANCHISED: Chandler Jones – No real surprise that the Cardinals take steps to retain one of the NFL’s most productive defensive threats, but will it now be at the expense of other potential free agents such as Calais Campbell? Watch this space. (28/2)

 

Logo Rams LOS ANGELES RAMS

SIGNED: Conor Barwin – Barwin may be entering the twilight of his career, but the edge rusher is still capable of big plays and he remains strong in all areas of his game. A quality acquisition.

SIGNED: Tyrunn Walker  – A useful addition to the defensive line, but he’ll have to compete for time behind Barwin.

SIGNED: Lance Dunbar – As a backup RB Dunbar is a more traditional option, but it will be interesting to see just how many snaps he plays.

SIGNED: Kayvon Webster – Webster was never a favourite in Denver but will definitely see more game time in LA.

SIGNED: Robert Woods – An interesting signing because Woods doesn’t really give the Rams an awful lot more than they already had at receiver. They will hope that he quickly develops an understanding with Goff and puts up bigger numbers than he was ever able to in Buffalo.

SIGNED: Andrew Whitworth – Whitworth isn’t the player he was a couple of seasons ago, but the former Bengals left tackle is still miles better than any lineman the Rams had on the roster in 2016. (09/3)

HIRED: Matt LaFleur –  The man who has done a lot behind the scenes to settle Matt Ryan now gets the task of running the Rams’ offense and trying to get some production out of Jared Goff. It is a tough first gig in the coordinator seat, but you’ve got to start somewhere and if he makes a success of the mess in LA the sky could be the limit for LaFleur.

 

Logo 49ers SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

ALSO SIGNED: Brock Coyle (ex-Seahawks LB) Aldrick Robinson (ex-Falcons WR) Marquise Goodwin (ex-Bills WR) Tim Hightower (ex-Saints RB) Dekoda Watson (ex-Broncos DE) Logan Paulsen (ex-Bears TE)  Don Jones (ex-Texans S)

SIGNED: Malcolm Smith – Picking up a former Superbowl MVP is never a bad thing and the 49ers desperately need some veteran help at linebacker.

SIGNED: Pierre Garcon – Shanahan apparently admires Garcon’s ‘toughness’, a trait which he’ll need to show plenty of if the team don’t manage to improve their offense significantly before September.

SIGNED: Matt Barkley – There’s no doubt that the Bears wanted to keep Barkley, but the chance to start anew in Frisco’ proved too tempting. Whether he is still on the roster come September very much depends upon just who the Niners pick up in the Draft.

ACQUIRED: Jeremy Zuttah –  The Niners traded sixth round picks with the Ravens for the veteran center as they try to fix an offensive line that was looking pretty frazzled by the end of 2016. (16/3)

SIGNED: Kyle Juszczyk – Shanahan likes big, versatile, fullbacks and Juszczyk will do for him what Patrick DiMarco did in Atlanta. (08/3)

SIGNED: Bryan Hoyer  – The Niners at last added a quarterback to the roster. Hoyer will have an interesting role, either as a backup to another veteran (Cousins? Romo?) or as a mentor to a young draft pick. (08/3)

CUT: Antoine Bethea  – This looks like nothing more than a move to free up some cap space. Linebacker is arguably the one area where the Niners have some strength in depth and Bethea is still enough of a player to contribute somewhere. (08/3)

CUT: Torrey Smith – No surprise here, as Smith’s production declined just as quickly as everyone else’s did in San Fran under Chip Kelly. The one-time speedster is not probably a number three at best somewhere, but there are enough receiver-needy teams out there for him to be confident of a new contract somewhere. (07/3)

RELEASED: Colin Kaepernick – Technically, Kaepernick voided his contract in order to try and find a new team. Whilst he will almost certainly have to take a pay cut, there are enough quarterback-needy teams out there, especially ones such as the Jets and the Bears who can’t really afford to develop a high draft pick, to ensure that he gets plenty of attention. (02/3)

SIGNED: Earl Mitchell – The veteran DT was released by the Dolphins earlier this month. It is a measure of how sluggish the market for defensive linemen is that he attracted interest from several teams before settling for a side in transition but where he figures to be a significant player if – and he lost most of 2016 to injury – he can stay healthy. (27/2)

HIRED: DeMeco Ryans – OK, so there are lots of coaching hires going on as Kyle Shanahan builds his squad, but this is one of the surprises. Ryan brings his playing career to an abrupt halt to join the bottom rung of the coaching ladder as a quality control coach. (22/2)

SIGNED: K’Waun Williams – And in another surprise hire, the Niners pick up cornerback Williams, who has been out of football after falling out with the Browns over the treatment of an ankle injury in 2015. His grievance hearing for that is scheduled for May and his new bosses will be hoping that he can then turn his attention to bolstering a fairly porous secondary. (22/2)

Logo Seahawks SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

ALSO SIGNED: Arthur Brown (ex-Jets LB) Oday Aboushi (ex-Texans G) Terence Garvin (ex-Redskins LB)

SIGNED: Bradley McDougald – Odd to think of the Carroll-era Hawks needing help in the secondary, but McDougald gives them a much-needed boost here.

SIGNED: Luke Joeckel – Joeckel struggled to live up to his first round status in Jacksonville and stuttered along the offensive line as a result, but he could be an ideal fit for the Seahawks and their slightly less conventional offense.

SIGNED: Michael Wilhoite – Wilhoite was a hidden gem in the Niners’ defense and should see more game time in Seattle.

SIGNED: Eddie Lacy – Have the Seahawks found the next Beast Mode? Well, Lacy certainly brings the powerful downhill running style, but his ability to keep himself fit and at a sensible weight has always been in doubt. (14/3)

SIGNED: Blair Walsh  Walsh was cut by the Vikings in the middle of last season and is almost certainly here to act as insurance against Steven Hauschka leaving in free agency. If Hauschka – who missed some crucial kicks towards the end of 2016 – stays then the equally-fallible Walsh could find himself searching for yet another team.

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Richard O'Hagan
Writer on such diverse topics as sport, music, theatre, law and politics. Author of 'Eddie the Sheep'. Supporter of underachieving teams, including the Chicago Bears from before that brief, heady, period in the mid-1980s when they were actually any good. All I want for Christmas is a Jim McMahon away shirt.
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