NFC Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Seahawks

     

Cardinals

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (leg) said he plans on playing in Week 17 against the Rams. 

“You want to tweet out that I’m going to play?” said Murray, via Darren Urban of the team’s official site. “Yeah, I’ll be playing.”

Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury is confident that Murray will be able to handle the magnitude of Sunday’s game given Arizona must win to qualify for the NFC playoffs. 

“It’s all part of the process for a young quarterback,” Kingsbury said. “He’s been a guy who has played in a ton of important games in his life and will play in a ton more. He knows how to handle it, and he’ll continue to evolve. Hopefully there are a lot more of these down the road.”

Cardinals LT D.J. Humphries said he is not worried about Sunday’s game potentially being too much for Murray mentally.

“That ain’t something I’m really worried about at all because when those lights come on, (Kyler’s) the guy,” said Humphries. 

  • Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson said he’d love to be back in Arizona but it’s up to the team to make that happen: “Everything is going to take care of itself. I’ve done all I can to present that I would love to be here. But at the end of the day, it’s up to (the Cardinals).” (Darren Urban)

49ers

Regarding the 49ers possibly being in the market for a quarterback this offseason, HC Kyle Shanahan said there’s a dilemma with excessively spending on a presumptive backup to Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Do you want to go get a starter as a backup quarterback?” Shanahan said, via Eric Branch of the SF Chronicle. “Then you’ve just got to decide if you want to spend the majority of your salary cap on your first- and your second-string quarterbacks…”

Shanahan reiterated that he doesn’t feel committing cap space on a backup quarterback is the “best answer” for an organization. 

“You just hope you don’t lose your (starter) for a whole year. We had that in our first year playing with Jimmy, which was a torn ACL. And then these two high ankle sprains that have come. It was unfortunate. But to sit there and just say now you’re going to go out and pay for a lot of money to have a backup quarterback who plays like a starter — (that) isn’t the best answer for your team.”

However, Shanahan mentioned that an alternative is to draft a quarterback and have a starter available, citing the Chiefs with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes in 2017. 

That’s something that most teams do have an issue with — that second-team quarterback,” Shanahan said. “Unless they’ve drafted a guy and then had their starter from the year before. Someone like Alex and what they had with Patrick.”

Shanahan defended Garoppolo’s standing as the 49ers’ starting quarterback and believes Garoppolo has “proven” capable of leading a winning organization. 

“Look at Jimmy’s record when he’s been here,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy, you can win with. He’s proven that. He’s proven he’s a starting quarterback in this league … I also think Jimmy’s going to get a lot better the more he plays.”

  • NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco writes that if — or when — the 49ers decide that QB Jimmy Garoppolo is their best option for the 2021 season, he expects them to restructure his deal to create a big chunk of cap space. 
  • Garoppolo’s deal is set to expire following the 2022 season, so Maiocco notes a restructure won’t be particularly burdensome on San Francisco. 

Rams

Rams backup QB John Wolford has never appeared in an NFL game before. But on Sunday, he’ll start for the Rams against the Cardinals as Los Angeles needs a win to secure a playoff berth.  

“It’s been a fun journey getting to this point,” Wolford said via the Associated Press’ Greg Beacham. “It’s a lot of hard work, and I’m confident in the time I’ve spent that has gotten me here. I’m confident in my capabilities as a player. I know I can spin it. I know how to make the throws, and then mentally it’s about making the right decisions.”

Seahawks

Seahawks RB Chris Carson had rushed for more than 1,100 yards each of the past two seasons before injuries limited him this year. It’s bad timing for Carson as he seeks to cash in on a major second contract as a running back, one of the hardest things to do in the sport given how the position has been devalued. But Seahawks HC Pete Carroll indicated that Carson will always be valued and find a home in Seattle if he chooses. 

“I do know Chris has got to — he’ll look out for himself,” Carroll said via Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree. “So he’s got to see what the situation is. We would love for him to be with us. He’s been a terrific part of our team, and hopefully we can keep that going. In my mind, I can’t imagine anything else happening. But from the business side of it, he’s got a chance to see what’s going on, and so hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out and keep him.”

  • Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times was surprised that veteran DT Damon Harrison requested to be released by the Seahawks, but mentions that Seattle may think DT Bryan Mone offers more as a pass rusher given he’s provided a sack and six hurries in 113 snaps, compared to Harrison’s zero in 77. 
  • Condotta notes that Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister came up as a release candidate in the offseason given Seattle could save $3.259 million by cutting him loose. However, keeping Hollister has proven to be a good call after TEs Colby Parkinson and Greg Olsen sustained injuries. 
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