Bears interested in extension for TE Olsen

Posted April 03, 2011 @ 12:53 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Following are whispers we've been hearing from around the league:

• Bears TE Greg Olsen did what was asked of him last season — he improved as a blocker, which had always the weakest part of his game — and team observers say he's a better all-around player heading into 2011. We hear the Bears have interest in extending Olsen's deal beyond '11, and Olsen would be receptive to those talks, but the league has told team employees not to discuss current players with agents during the lockout. Getting a deal done this year with Olsen, who will be looking to maximize his value in his prime years, could be difficult.

• Our Rams sources tell us they think the team does have some interest in Vikings WR Sidney Rice should he become available in free agency. However, the Rams are also a bit leery of the hip injury that limited him this past season.

• Some in Atlanta are pushing for the Falcons to trade up in the first round of the draft to acquire one of the top prospects at wide receiver. The top-ranked receiver, Georgia's A.J. Green, is being projected to go as high as No. 1 overall and he probably won't get past the Browns at No. 6, however. Atlanta could use another weapon at receiver and there's no doubt that the team is interested in the draft's top talents at the position, but the cost will be great to move so far up the board from their slot with the 27th overall pick. Sources doubt that the Falcons would pull the trigger and put together the package it would take to be in position to land Green.

• Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald probably isn't thinking much about his future in Arizona at present while on safari in Africa. But when he returns, team sources tell us money is not likely to be a drawback in any negotiations for a new contract. "The thing with Fitz is not pay; the Cards will come up with enough money," one team insider said of Fitzgerald, whose current deal expires after the 2011 season. "The big thing is the direction of the offense and the quarterback. He has a lot of trust in Whiz (head coach Ken Whisenhunt), but he could be a tough sell."

• We hear Cardinals safeties Matt Ware, who has a diabetic condition that few close to the team knew about until it was revealed after he was nominated for the Ed Block Courage award, and Hamza Abdullah, very well could end up battling each other for a spot on the final roster.

• The word from our 49ers sources is that the future probably bodes quite well for TEs Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. "(New head coach Jim) Harbaugh loves the tight end. He had three of them who helped kill Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. I could see Walker really blossoming under Harbaugh. He's very dedicated and athletic." 

• With so many other positions needing to be addressed, we hear the Broncos are content with the safety duo of Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill. The team is not expected to spend a lot of money to upgrade at that spot but could use one of their draft picks to bring in a player to learn from the savvy veterans.

• Although Jaguars TE Zach Miller's production decreased slightly in his second season, we're hearing the club is not disappointed with the former college quarterback. Miller continues to refine his skills as a blocker, and still serves as one of the most dangerous downfield threats on the roster.
 
• Colts LBs Philip Wheeler and Pat Angerer are expected to compete for the starting "Sam" linebacker position next season. Wheeler began the 2010 season as the starter, but was too inconsistent to hang on to the job. As a rookie, Angerer played pretty well once he was given an opportunity, but his natural position is still in the middle.
 
• It would behoove Texans QB Matt Leinart, who is a potential free agent once a new CBA is reached, to remain in Houston. Leinart is likely going to be a career backup, but head coach Gary Kubiak — a very good handler of QBs — is the right guy to continue developing Leinart at this stage of the former Heisman Trophy winner's career.