NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks

     

Cardinals

There might not be a better pass rusher in the NFL right now than Cardinals LB Chandler Jones. His sack totals the past three seasons have been outrageous, with 17, 13 and 19. Arguably the only thing that’s slowed him down in that span is gaining weight one year to play defensive end instead of outside linebacker. That won’t be a problem in 2020, as he’ll stay at outside linebacker for Cardinals DC Vance Joseph.

“To have the opportunity to play the same position in consecutive years is going to be fun for me,” Jones said via Pro Football Talk. “I feel like I’m more comfortable as an outside linebacker. When I started in the NFL, I was a defensive end so I’m familiar with the position, but I like playing outside linebacker.”

Jones’ 19 sacks last season were a career-high and he credited the presence of legendary LB Terrell Suggs for most of the season for helping him take another step forward. 

“Where I am in my career, I find myself . . . in certain plays saying, ‘I’m not going to take that risk. I might lose contain or the quarterback might throw the ball or I might get a flag,’” Jones said. “Not being less careless, but he taught me to say, ‘Hey, take it. The biggest thing that happens is you make a big play. The worst thing that happens is all right, they gain a couple of yards.’ He triggered something in my brain to kind of take more risks on the field, and it’s also [related] to a lot of my stats. My stats, they lead to the team’s success. A lot of those plays were just me taking risks. A lot of them I was falling into, obviously, but a lot of plays I have the option to go inside or outside. A lot of pass rushers don’t want to go inside because that’s kind of frowned upon. I’ve been going inside a lot more.”

49ers

Given the turmoil in San Francisco since he was drafted, the team’s cap situation this year and especially his extensive injury history, the odds were long that 49ers S Jimmie Ward would be the team’s longest-tenured player. But that’s exactly what happened when he signed a three-year contract extension this offseason. Ward ended the year on injured reserve in four of his first five seasons with broken bones and broke both his collarbone and finger last year. Now that he’s got his deal, he’s focusing on making sure he can stay healthy and extend his tenure even longer. 

“I’m trying to avoid soft-tissue injuries,” Ward said via NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco. “Breaking bones, and this and that, hopefully, I stay healthy, but that can happen. But soft-tissue injuries, I can avoid that by yoga and just working out and putting the right things in my body.”

Seahawks

  • A source tells Bob Condotta of the recent report that the Seahawks “floated” the possibility of trading QB Russell Wilson to the Browns back in 2018 that “all 31 teams called the Cleveland Browns that year,” just as they typically do every year.
  • Condotta says that if the Seahawks really discussed Wilson with the Browns, it undoubtedly would have been for both of Cleveland’s first-round picks (No. 1 and No. 4 overall) to start.
  • Condotta also mentions that Seahawks GM John Schneider wouldn’t have been doing his job if he didn’t at least explore possibilities in a year in which there was at least some uncertainty over Wilson’s future before his contract extension.
  • Wilson is under contract through 2022 and Condotta expects him to remain in Seattle for the foreseeable future.
  • If former Panthers QB Cam Newton is truly amenable to a backup job, ESPN’s Field Yates and Jeremy Fowler think the Seahawks would be a strong fit schematically and organizationally. 
  • It’s worth mentioning that the Seahawks agreed to a one-year contract with Geno Smith on Thursday. (NFLTR)
  • All three of Yates, Fowler and Matt Bowen believe former Vikings DE Everson Griffen will land with his former college HC Pete Carroll with the Seahawks as a replacement for Jadeveon Clowney.
  • Seahawks QB Anthony Gordon received the highest signing bonus of Seattle’s undrafted free agent class at $12,500. (Brady Henderson)
  • Seahawks OT Tommy Champion received an $11,500 signing bonus, TE Tyler Mabry and S Chris Miller received $10,000 signing bonuses, and DE Eli Mencer received an $8,000 signing bonus.
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