Here are some whispers we've been hearing from our sources around the NFC:
• It wouldn't shock us, based on our information, if the Redskins strike big and early in free agency in an attempt to land WR Vincent Jackson, much in the same way they did with their Friday-night trade for the second overall pick in the April draft. Jackson is the big target they are seeking the most, and they could jump right out at the start of free agency and try to bowl him over with an offer.
• The Giants will add a running back now that Brandon Jacobs has been released. As much as they like Ahmad Bradshaw as the first option, D.J. Ware as a goal-line/third-down back and Da'Rel Scott as a speed change-up, they know they must add a little bulk to the mix. But don't expect the Giants to target massive backs just because Jacobs and his 265 (or more) pounds are gone. They could go with someone much lighter, but it will be a back who can run between the tackles.
• The Eagles might be out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, but they could be interested in a rookie quarterback — even with the Trent Edwards signing. Andy Reid knows the Eagles are on the hook for Michael Vick only one more season without suffering too much of a crippling cap hit after 2012.
• Look for Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore to take on bigger roles for the Packers' LB corps next season. Both Jones, who finished last season on a strong note, and Lattimore, who has been asked to bulk up a bit, are expected to play both inside and outside in 2012.
• The Buccaneers made Mason Foster their starting middle linebacker in his rookie season after Barrett Ruud moved on in free agency, and Foster was among the many Bucs who struggled through a historically poor year for the defense. After beating out Tyrone McKenzie for the starting job in the middle in 2011, Foster could be in a position battle again in training camp this year but not necessarily in the middle. Some league evaluators feel Foster is better-suited to play on the weak side, and the team has made it clear that moving Foster from the middle to the outside is being considered. Linebacker is one of several spots the Bucs are looking to address in free agency.
• We're hearing the Saints would be very comfortable with CB Patrick Robinson becoming a full-time starter next season. Robinson, a first-round pick in 2010, has started 11 games over the past two seasons and would be the favorite to take CB Tracy Porter's spot if Porter moves on in free agency. New Orleans would like to re-sign Porter, though, and the depth at a position the Saints' front office feels strongly about will be a concern if he does not return.
• We hear one indication that the Cardinals are serious about going after Peyton Manning full bore are reports that the team has had internal conversations about signing free-agent WR Reggie Wayne, one of Manning's top targets in Indianapolis. It would probably be a mistake, however, to consider the addition of ex-Colts assistant Frank Reich to the Arizona coaching staff (as the new WR coach) as another dot connecting Manning to the Cardinals. Word is Reich, who was Manning's QB coach before shifting to coaching the receivers last season, and Manning do not have the warmest of relationships.
• After the cash-starved Steelers unloaded veterans such as ILB James Farrior, OG Chris Kemoeatu and WR Hines Ward, it wasn't long before some close Cardinals observers began wondering if the team might be tempted to once again tap into the Pittsburgh pipeline that produced head coach Ken Whisenhunt, defensive coordinator Ray Horton and defenders Clark Haggans and Joey Porter, among others. "I don't see it," one team insider told PFW. "Farrior is 37, and I think the Cardinals are pretty happy with Daryl Washington, Paris Lenon and Stewart Bradley at inside linebacker. As for Keomeatu, I think there were some of the same (weight) issues as there have been with (Cardinals OG) Deuce Lutui. And Ward looks like he's done."
• We're still hearing it's only a matter of time before the Niners and the representatives for free-agent QB Alex Smith agree on the number of years for a new contract. But our sources in San Francisco tell us the team is opting to take its time figuring out what to do with free-agent CB Carlos Rogers, who apparently will get an opportunity to fully explore the upcoming free-agent market.
• Although we hear the Rams have not entirely ruled out re-signing UFA WR Brandon Lloyd, team sources tell us there's only about a 30 percent chance he'll be back in St. Louis next season. As far as possible free-agent additions the team might be considering, CB Cortland Finnegan, who played under Jeff Fisher in Tennessee, remains a popular name on the rumor mill. But we hear Finnegan's price tag is probably a bit too steep for the Rams to handle.
• We hear the Seahawks are more than willing to give free-agent DE Red Bryant a contract directly in line with the deal that linemate Brandon Mebane cut with the 'Hawks last offseason, which included $9 million in guaranteed money.