Following are whispers we've been hearing from around the league:
• Whenever free agency begins, Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph could find himself in demand, as he has played his position well in five NFL seasons. In the event Joseph is not back with the Bengals in 2011, the most logical heir to his starting spot, a daily team observer says, is Adam Jones, who was the club's No. 3 cornerback last season. Jones has not been a full-time NFL starter since 2006, when he started 15 games for Tennessee. Jones suffered a season-ending neck injury in October during his lone start of the 2010 campaign at Atlanta.
• In addition to the fact that teams can't make any player transactions currently, here is yet another potential impediment to the Eagles trading Kevin Kolb: Some QB-needy teams, such as the Titans and Vikings, probably won't be wild about paying what Kolb might demand in terms of salary. His deal for 2011 is cheap — $1.6 million — but he will want a long-term contract, and no team would gamble on letting a player they just traded for hit free agency.
• It has been said that Redskins free-agent OT Jammal Brown would prefer to play on the left side, where he spent most of his time in New Orleans before landing in D.C. by trade. Last season was a struggle for Brown, who battled injuries and never looked completely comfortable on the right side. Brown reportedly is still open to returning to Washington next season, but there's no way he'll be a left tackle with Trent Williams entrenched there for the foreseeable future.
• There has been some talk in Dallas about the Cowboys bringing in a veteran receiver to mentor Dez Bryant, but we hear that only would be likely to happen if the team parts ways with Roy Williams.
• While there's strong reason to believe the 49ers offered free-agent QB Alex Smith a new one-year contract offer before the league year ended, we hear Smith remains very likely to, at the very least, investigate potential options with other teams once free agency begins. Sources close to Smith continue to believe he would prefer a change of scenery, especially considering the major extent to which he has fallen out of favor with the Niners' fan base.
• It has been tough for our 49ers sources to avoid connecting the dots between Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers, who could be a nice fit as a potential change-of-pace back with free agent Brian Westbrook not likely to return, and the fact that Niners TE coach Reggie Davis spent the past three years as Rodgers' position coach at Oregon State.
• The Falcons have made 25 picks since drafting Matt Ryan in 2008 and none of those choices was spent on a quarterback. Ryan is coming off his first Pro Bowl and Chris Redman is entrenched as his backup, so the position is a low priority for Atlanta. However, with three seventh-round picks, sources would not be surprised if a young signalcaller gets added to the mix late in the draft. Redman is entering the final year of his contract and third-stringer John Parker Wilson lacks NFL game experience, so Atlanta doesn't have a clear long-term backup.
• Look for second-year Ravens WR David Reed's playing time to increase on offense next season, the way we hear it. A daily team observer said Reed figures to be among Baltimore's top four wideouts next season. Reed made a major impact on special teams as a rookie, averaging 29.3 yards on 21 kickoffs
• Our sources in the desert suspect the Cardinals could be counting on versatile veteran OL Rex Hadnot a lot more this coming season. C Lyle Sendlein and OGs Alan Faneca and Deuce Lutui are all potential free agents, and Hadnot is capable of starting in place of any of them if need be. "They like him a lot," one team insider said of Hadnot. "He's a good guy and a great influence in the locker room. The big question is the troubles he's had with his knees, but there doesn't seem to have been any problems lately."
• There was speculation shortly after the season that Seahawks veteran free-agent PK Olindo Mare might be hoping to hook up with a team closer to his home state of Florida. But it now appears Mare is sold on Seattle as the home for him and his family, so much so that he's willing to give the Seahawks a hometown discount to re-sign him.
• Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with Chargers season-ticket holders last week, and unlike the weather, the news was not bright for San Diego. Goodell told fans he is working hard to help the team negotiate with city officials to reach a deal on a new stadium, but until that happens, the city won't be hosting a Super Bowl. Qualcomm Stadium, formerly Jack Murphy Stadium, previously has hosted three Super Bowls — none since 2003.
• Although the Broncos are expected to add several pieces on the defensive side of the ball through both the NFL draft and free agency, a daily team observer said they will "draft the best player available at a position of need" to fit new defensive coordinator Dennis Allen's scheme.