|Scott Boehm/Associated Press|
|Osi Umenyiora's production declined in 2012, but the Seattle Seahawks could use him as a situational pass rusher.|
With free agency set to kick off at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 12, Elliot Harrison identifies needs for all 32 teams over eight divisional primers. You'll find the outlook for each NFC West team below, but click here to examine other divisions.
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Top priority in free agency: Tackle.
Other areas of interest: Running back, defensive back, inside linebacker.
Potential fits: OT Bryant McKinnie, OT Ryan Harris, RB Shonn Greene, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, CB Greg Toler, S Rashad Johnson, S Chris Clemons, ILB Erin Henderson, ILB Brad Jones, ILB Nick Barnett.
There's much to consider in the desert. Obviously, the Cardinals are desperate for a quality quarterback, but quality just isn't available at that position in free agency this year. That is, unless you think Jason Campbell can drop a 2008 Kurt Warner on the NFL. (Bill Bidwill has a better shot at running a 4.6 40.) On the other hand, acquiring some help at tackle is feasible at the right price. Beyond those two positions, if the Cardinals are considering signing a running back, it better be someone who can stay healthy. When it comes to having fragile RBs on the roster, Arizona succeeds at a Hall of Fame level. (Hello, Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams.) Free agent Shonn Greene has proven to be rather durable; signing him would be an interesting move, to say the least. The Cards released safety Adrian Wilson on Friday, further spotlighting issues in the secondary. Meanwhile, inside linebacker is still a problem area -- at least on one side, where the Stewart Bradley experiment failed. Reggie Walker might be the guy for now.
St. Louis Rams
Top priority in free agency: Outside linebacker.
Other areas of interest: Wide receiver, running back, safety.
Potential fits: LB Daryl Smith, LB Philip Wheeler, WR Danny Amendola, WR Domenik Hixon, RB Shonn Greene, RB Michael Turner, S Rashad Johnson, S Gerald Sensabaugh, S Chris Clemons.
The Rams need help at outside linebacker. Right now, restricted free agent Justin Cole and Jo-Lonn Dunbar are the penciled-in starters. Dunbar isn't bad, but the club could upgrade from Cole. Meanwhile, much of the free-agent discussion in St. Louis centers on what to do with Danny Amendola. A lot of people think the New England Patriots could make a play for him, depending on Wes Welker's situation. (Amendola would be cheaper -- and is younger -- but has a difficult time staying healthy.) Trying to imagine the Rams' offense without Amendola AND Steven Jackson is tough. It will be interesting to see if the club gives Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead a thumper to work with. Shonn Greene probably isn't affordable, but Michael Turner could be.
San Francisco 49ers
Top priority in free agency: Defensive line.
Other areas of interest: Safety, tight end, linebacker.
Potential fits: DE Ricky Jean Francois, DL Cullen Jenkins, DL Richard Seymour, NT Isaac Sopoaga, DT Terrance Knighton, S Dashon Goldson, S Ed Reed, TE Delanie Walker, TE Anthony Fasano, TE Daniel Fells.
Offseason 2013: What the future looks likeTake a sneak peek at what the future might hold for these free agents.
OK, there's a lot going on here. We didn't list corner up there because it feels like Darrelle Revis or bust. The 49ers would have to free up more cap space to afford Revis' contract (in a trade scenario), which would likely put them in jeopardy of not being able to sign most of their own free agents. If they don't get Revis, expect the Niners to bring back Isaac Sopoaga and Delanie Walker. Walker is a very good blocker, while Sopoaga's status is likely contingent on how negotiations go with reserve lineman Ricky Jean Francois. The latter is drawing interest and might command a price asymmetrical to his value, at least in this club's eyes. Another interesting area: Tight end, if only because the 49ers would miss Walker's blocking and versatility. If Daniel Fells is released by the Patriots (who have about 700 tight ends), he could be a cheap possibility, especially if the Niners have to pony up for Revis. Anthony Fasano is a dark, dark horse, although he didn't have his best year blocking in 2012. He has been solid in the past, however. Safety Dashon Goldson likely will be unaffordable. Ed Reed would be an intriguing possibility if Revis is not obtained. He would provide a nice veteran presence in the weak area of the Niners' D.
Top priority in free agency: Offensive line.
Other areas of interest: Tight end, defensive line, wide receiver.
Potential fits: OT Sebastian Vollmer, OT Phil Loadholt, OT Gosder Cherilus, TE Jared Cook, TE Fred Davis, TE Martellus Bennett, DE Osi Umenyiora, DE Dwight Freeney, DE John Abraham, WR Danny Amendola, WR Wes Welker.
Seattle has more cap space than you might think. Despite the club being on the hook for around $118 million, general manager John Schneider was able to carry over $13.2 million in cap space, meaning the Seahawks have available funds to do damage in free agency. Offensive line is a good place to start, particularly on the right side. Many analysts see the Seahawks upgrading at right tackle, one way or another. Let's look at other potential areas of interest. This team could beef up its pass rush. Yes, Chris Clemons and rookie Bruce Irvin did a nice job harassing passers in 2012, but they need help. How about getting a 4-3 edge rusher on a one-year, incentive-laden deal? Osi Umenyiora has played the 49ers and Packers -- two of Seattle's chief competitors in the NFC -- several times. He'd be a nice fit. Dwight Freeney? Just thinking out loud. Meanwhile, tight end is an obvious spot for this club to fortify. Then there's wideout, a position Seattle's likely to hit the 2013 NFL Draft. This franchise hasn't had a lot of luck with big-name free-agent wideouts in the past. Still, grabbing Danny Amendola would weaken a division rival who beat the Seahawks once and played them very tough in Week 17. Wes Welker is an older alternative, and very doubtful. Yet, he would be an incredibly reliable target for Russell Wilson, while carrying a similar work ethic. Just thinking out loud again.
Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @Harrison_NFL.