Below are the whispers we've been hearing from around the NFC:
• Expect Eagles QB Kevin Kolb to be traded eventually. Andy Reid is following the same pattern he did a year ago with Donovan McNabb, allowing word to get out about a possible trade. By floating the idea now while league business is suspended, the thinking is that the value of Kolb will only increase as teams get more antsy about landing a starting quarterback and the competition for his services grows. Expect the Eagles to take the best offer; they dealt McNabb within the division and are not afraid, we hear, about potentially facing Kolb as an opponent.
• The Redskins believe they will have far better coverage in the secondary with new S O.J. Atogwe, who has proven himself as a consistent playmaker. With an improved front seven, which will be the next area of focus, the Redskins could be on their way toward defensive respectability.
• The Cowboys reportedly made absorbing as much of new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme a priority prior to the lockout. Most of the top defensive players were at the team's facility even days before the work stoppage hit, learning Ryan's concepts as best they could. It might give the Cowboys a slight advantage over some other teams making scheme changes if the labor issues drag on.
• All signs point to the Eagles moving on from LB Ernie Sims. Although he was a physical hitter at times last season, he wasn't consistent enough — especially down the stretch — to bring back as a starter.
• The Vikings might be more willing to retain PK Ryan Longwell, a free-agent-to-be, if the talked-about new kickoff rules are in place. The question with Longwell isn't his ability to make FG attempts inside 50 yards — it's his kickoff distance that is worrisome. Moving the ball up to the 35-yard line for kickoffs would give him a better chance to return.
• Even though the Packers decided to recently re-up with free agent Charlie Peprah, who more than held his own as the starting strong safety much of the season in place of injured rookie Morgan Burnett, sources close to the team still believe Burnett will enter 2011 with the upper hand at strong safety, barring any complications with the torn ACL that prematurely ended his first campaign.
• We hear Packers RB Ryan Grant, whose normal playing weight is just over 220, had gotten down to as low as 204 pounds this past season while being unable to work out on crutches that were necessary for a prolonged period after he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week One.
• The Falcons are interested in re-signing OLB Stephen Nicholas — they issued him a restricted free-agent tender — but it's likely that he will be an unrestricted free agent when a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place and that tender will be nullified. We hear Nicholas, a four-year veteran, is looking for an opportunity to start and be paid a starter's salary in a long-term deal. He might have to compete against 2010 first-round pick Sean Weatherspoon for playing time if he were to return to Atlanta. It appears, though, Nicholas will get an opportunity to gauge his value on the open market.
• Our Rams sources believe it certainly wouldn't hurt to at least look into adding veteran WRs Plaxico Burress, who has been in prison the last couple of years, and Randy Moss, who played under new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in New England. "But there are obvious issues with both of them," said one team insider. "Unlike Michael Vick, who was 28 (nearly 29) when he got out of prison, Burress will be 34 years old (in August). Moss is a bit more intriguing, but it really does seem like he's no longer a difference maker. He didn't do anything with the Titans."
• Don't be surprised if Cardinals 2010 first-round NT Dan Williams, who had a tough time initially adjusting to the pro ranks, makes much more of an impact in his second season. "Dan came on very well for us toward the latter part of the season," Cardinals GM Rod Graves said at this year's Combine. "He's a hardworking kid, and I think he's going to be a force for us in the middle. He's exactly what we want in this 3-4 defense. He's an up-tempo guy, and we're just lucky to have him."
• We hear one of the Niners' more interesting position battles could be at placekicker, where veteran Joe Nedney, who finished the last two seasons hurt, could get a run for his money from former Steeler Jeff Reed, who did a decent job replacing Nedney down the stretch in 2010 but has had his share of issues, and possibly even from a rookie acquired in the later rounds of the upcoming draft.
• The Seahawks seem pretty likely to re-sign free-agent DE Raheem Brock, who finished the 2010 season as one of the league's more productive pass rushers. "Absolutely," GM John Schneider said at the Combine. "You can't argue with what he did."