NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Seahawks



Defense will be one of the areas of focus for improvement in Arizona this offseason after finishing near the bottom of the NFL in most categories. But Cardinals S Budda Baker says an underrated factor to consider is that the Cardinals will have the same defensive coordinator overseeing things for the first time since 2017. 

“Having the same coaching staff, having the same faces and all that type of stuff is definitely going to help,” Baker said, via’s Kevin Zimmerman. “As grown men, having a new guy come in every time, you got to learn him and you have to do all that . . . I feel like having these guys [return], we know who they are, we know how they coach, we know how they play the defense and the game. This same coaching staff is definitely going to help me elevate my game personally as a player. I’m playing my real position that I love to play.”


  • Should 49ers’ impending free-agent DL Arik Armstead sign with a new team, Matt Barrows of The Athletic could see San Francisco moving forward with Solomon Thomas as their No. 5 defensive lineman.  
  • Barrows says there seems to be a “good chance” that DE Ronald Blair (ACL) and DT Jullian Taylor (ACL) start 2020 on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 
  • Regarding 49ers DE Dee Ford‘s $15.9 million cap charge for 2020, Barrows does not expect San Francisco to restructure his contract.
  • Barrows does not think the 49ers will be able to trade WR Marquise Goodwin given his cap hit increases from $4.9 million to $6.5 million in 2021. 
  • Barrows isn’t sure the 49ers would be able to trade either QB C.J. Beathard or Nick Mullens considering that this is expected to be a deep draft class.
  • As for the 49ers using the franchise tag on S Jimmie Ward, Barrows believes it’s unlikely given that San Francisco has around $13 million in cap room and the tag would cost them $12.7 million. 
  • NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco writes that unless 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders takes well under his expected $10 million per year market value, he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2020. 
  • However, Maiocco notes both Sanders and San Francisco think highly of each other, which could help bring the 33-year-old veteran back next year. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer lists 49ers DC Robert Saleh as one of the top head-coaching candidates for next year’s cycle. 


  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer lists Rams OC Kevin O’Connell as one of the top head-coaching candidates for next year’s cycle. 
  • Per ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry, Rams GM Les Snead said he doesn’t anticipate using the franchise tag at this time, though that could change with new information. Rams LB Cory Littleton and DE Dante Fowler are the two possible candidates: “As of today, (we) do not expect to tag, but there is a window of time and ultimately because there’s a window of time, you may get some later data points that would say it might be best to use that tool in the toolbox.”
  • Snead also said the Rams have had talks with G Austin Blythe, but have not yet come to an agreement ahead of free agency: “It is interesting. We’re in talks with Austin Blythe. We’ve got to get through the free agency and this is the time of year when a lot of things can change, just because there’s no guarantees.” (J.B. Long)


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