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NFC Whispers

Spencer, Locklear appear to be done in Seattle

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By PFW staff

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

• Word out of Seattle is that free-agent O-linemen Sean Locklear and Chris Spencer have, in effect, been told to look elsewhere. First-round draft pick James Carpenter, who already has been handed the starting ORT role that Locklear filled the majority of last season, apparently has been given Locklear's number (No. 75). Spencer, a former first-round draft pick who has had as many downs as ups as the team's starting center, has been replaced by third-year pro Max Unger, who suffered a season-ending toe injury in Week One last season as the starting right guard.

• Our Giants observers say that QB Eli Manning has shown as much initiative and leadership this offseason, mired in a lockout, than any before. He has organized team workouts and has been among the more vocal at the sessions.

• The Vikings might have a quiet offseason from here on out, even though adding a veteran QB appears to be on the play sheet. Our sources say that the team will not be spending money wantonly in free agency, feeling that the players hitting the market will not be worth doling out cash for. They are instead going to focus on signing RB Adrian Peterson and WR Sidney Rice to extensions.

• With the Rams adding TE Lance Kendricks and WRs Austin Pettis and Greg Salas to what GM Billy Devaney called the team's "ever-expanding arsenal" via the draft, we hear a host of holdover receivers could be on the bubble, especially WRs Laurent Robinson, Mardy Gilyard and Brandon Gibson and TEs Daniel Fells and Fendi Onubun.

• There were some raised eyebrows among our Cardinals sources when the team decided not to tender reserve DE Kenny Iwebema before the lockout. "The Iwebema move surprised me," one team insider said. "It probably came down to health issues with him." One well-documented issue Iwebema overcame was a grapefruit-sized tumor that had been removed from his chest. Then, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week Nine last season. "When he was healthy, he was a pretty good rotational guy," the insider said.

• Don't be surprised if the 49ers' selection of fleet-footed S Colin Jones in the sixth round of the draft signals the end of third-year S Curtis Taylor's time in San Francisco.

• 49ers third-round draft pick Chris Culliver on if he compares himself to Packers Pro Bowl CB Charles Woodson: "Yeah, because he plays multiple positions just like myself. I definitely have experience at the nickel position. I played there two years and started two years, nickel, corner, safety. … I definitely try to align them all. I definitely try to be a student of the game. I think that's something he does very well."

• We hear Packers GM Ted Thompson thought long and hard about drafting Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers with Green Bay's first pick in this year's draft. But taking into account the problems the team has had with injury-prone former first-round pick Justin Harrell, Thompson ultimately opted for durable OT Derek Sherrod, even though a healthy Bowers might have developed into a scarily effective outside pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews.

• The Falcons' Michael Koenen has been one of the highest-paid punters in the league over the past two seasons, but he's due to become an unrestricted free agent and Atlanta drafted a player to replace him on April 30. Sixth-round pick Matt Bosher will punt and kick off for the Falcons and he will come at a much lower price than Koenen would have. Koenen played on a one-year, $2.73 million deal last season.

• While Gabe Carimi, the Bears' first-round pick, has the versatility to play guard, there was never much doubt that Carimi would play tackle for Chicago. Carimi, who visited the team facility April 30, confirmed to PFW this week that the coaching staff told him he would play tackle. It appears likely that Carimi will start at right tackle with J'Marcus Webb switching to left tackle. Frank Omiyale, who became the starting left tackle early last season, appears headed for a swing backup role.

• The Eagles won't hesitate to make a deal involving QB Kevin Kolb once player movement is allowed. They have enough idea right now of what his value is, and there are enough suitors that the Eagles likely will strike something quickly.

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