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NFC Whispers

Packers may try to re-sign Walden

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By PFW staff

The following are some whispers we've been hearing from our sources around the NFC:

 

• After initially looking as though Packers unrestricted free-agent OLB Erik Walden was as good as gone because of a late-season domestic incident, we are now hearing the team might consider keeping him around, if the price is right. Walden has shown flashes of being a difference maker — he had a team-leading eight tackles and two QB hits in the Thanksgiving Day win over the Lions one day before the altercation with his girlfriend — and word is the Packers feel reasonably confident that he can get his act together off the field, which they believe will lead to steadier play on the field.

• The Bears corrected a mistake of seasons past, finding a quality backup for Jay Cutler in Jason Campbell, who signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal. Campbell has made 70 career starts, including the first six games of last season before he suffered a season-ending broken right collarbone and the Raiders replaced him with Carson Palmer. Yet, Campbell intends to make the most of his opportunity as Cutler's backup and still views himself as a No. 1 quarterback. "It's a different role I have to accept, but I do feel like I can be a starter in this league," Campbell told PFW. "... Not being a starter anymore in the league is definitely a tough pill to swallow because everyone wants to play, especially when you're used to playing and you feel like you still can be playing, but I understand that it's a different role. I'm going to make the best of my role. I'm happy to be a Bear and I want to do everything I can to help the team."

• Bears QB Jay Cutler's emotions, on the field and off, have been heavily scrutinized during his time in Chicago, but he is making it abundantly clear to those around him that he's happy with the decisions the Bears have made so far this offseason. From bringing in Jeremy Bates as QB coach and WR Brandon Marshall — his old friends from Denver — to the re-signing of TE Kellen Davis, Cutler is pleased with the direction Chicago is heading in.

• The Redskins' contract for WR Josh Morgan looked fairly sizable, but it's essentially a two-year deal back-loaded with money he'll never make (base salaries of $9 million in each of the final three years of a five-year deal). Some have said that Morgan's presence with the 49ers might have made the difference in his former team making the Super Bowl — he fractured his right leg in Week Five and missed the rest of the season. Yet, that begs the question: Then why didn't the 49ers make more of a push to re-sign him, considering their massive need at receiver?

• Two league observers were surprised at the Cowboys' spending on OGs Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau — for a combined $30 million, with nearly $10 million of it guaranteed. "I just don't get it," one talent evaluator said. "That's starter money. Those guys couldn't start for us." Said another evaluator: "We had a veteran (minimum salary) grade on Bernadeau, a little above it for (Livings)."

• There have been reports that the Buccaneers at least considered parting ways with TE Kellen Winslow this offseason. We heard the Bucs did take a look at what was available at tight end in free agency and were intrigued by Martellus Bennett, who ended up signing with the Giants. For now, we're told the Bucs don't think Luke Stocker, a fourth-round pick last year, is ready to be the No. 1 tight end, and Winslow may be their best option in the meantime.

• With versatile OL Adam Snyder signing with the Cardinals, our sources in San Francisco tell us second-year pro Daniel Kilgore probably has the upper hand on the Niners' starting ORG job — at least for the time being. Look for Kilgore, whose playing time last season was limited to one snap as an extra blocker in the Monday-night game vs. the Steelers, to get a serious challenge at right tackle from either a yet-to-be-determined free-agent addition or, a bit less likely, a pick in the next draft.

• OLG Robert Gallery's release from the Seahawks wasn't only due to the former Raider failing to meet expectations in his one season in Seattle. It also had a lot to do with fellow ex-Raiders OL Paul McQuistan far surpassing his expectations, effectively starting at three different positions when he was called upon last season. "He ended up doing what Gallery was supposed to do," said one daily team observer said of McQuistan, who shapes up as the front-runner to take over at left guard after signing a new contract (terms undisclosed). "At the very least, he's a great insurance policy who will be willing to do whatever is asked of him."

• The Seahawks might take a free-agent flier on Vikings UFA TE Visanthe Shiancoe as a possible replacement for John Carlson, who signed with Minnesota. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is familiar with Shiancoe from their time together with the Vikings.

• New Rams CB Cortland Finnegan chose to be politically correct when asked at his introductory press conference about comments that he's a dirty player. "You know, you can't ... everyone has their opinion," Finnegan said. "You go out there and try to help your football team win, and I just happen to play with an edge to me. I never want to hurt the football team, but also want to make big plays and help this football team win and lead this football team."

• With the "Bountygate" scandal involving new Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams having delayed the process, we hear the Rams might finally officially announce their entire new coaching staff at some point next week.

• Don't be shocked if the Cardinals either release high-priced reserve LB Stewart Bradley or restructure his contract in an effort to create more cap space in the days and weeks ahead. Bradley currently has a $6.5 million cap figure ($5 million salary). We hear another potential cap casualty in the desert could be TE Todd Heap ($3.4 million cap number), who underachieved in 2011.

• If Cardinals 14-year veteran free-agent DE Vonnie Holliday decides that he's not quite ready to call it a career just yet — word is he is leaning toward playing one more season — we hear the Cardinals are probably inclined toward re-signing him. In addition to doing a nice job backing up Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett this past season, Holliday's experience and positive attitude paid dividends in the locker room, we're told.

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