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Around The NFC West - Free Agency Update

Posted Mar 22, 2017

A look at how active the division was during the first few weeks of free agency

The Cardinals will see more of running back Eddie Lacy, who signed with the Seahawks.

Free agency has quieted down across the NFL as most of the big names have found a home. The Cardinals and their NFC West brethren have made their major decisions and will now be tinkering as the draft beckons at the end of April. Here is a look at the departures and arrivals for each team in the division thus far:

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Players added: QB Brian Hoyer; WR Pierre Garcon; LB Malcom Smith; FB Kyle Juszczyk; OL Jeremy Zuttah; DT Earl Mitchell; LB Dekoda Watson; WR Marquise Goodwin; WR Aldrick Robinson; QB Matt Barkley; K Robbie Gould; TE Logan Paulsen.

Players lost: QB Colin Kaepernick; WR Torrey Smith; S Antoine Bethea; K Phil Dawson; RB Shaun Draughn.

What it means: New 49ers General Manager John Lynch had plenty of salary cap space and struck quickly in his first foray into free agency, signing a variety of new players. Garcon, Juszczyk and Hoyer were the big splashes, as new coach Kyle Shanahan likes what they can bring to his offense. San Francisco still seems a couple of years away from being competitive, but it made some moves to improve the talent on the roster.

Hoyer was added on a two-year contract and seems to be a bridge quarterback. The 49ers have the No. 2 overall choice in the draft, and they could still pick a rookie signal-caller if there is one they like. San Francisco either released or allowed several veterans to leave in free agency to get younger as the rebuild continues.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Players added: RB Eddie Lacy; G Luke Joeckel; S Bradley McDougald; G Oday Aboushi; K Blair Walsh

Players lost: K Stephen Hauschka; DE Damontre Moore; DT John Jenkins; TE Brandon Williams

What it means: After a couple years of watching some of their main contributors leave in free agency, the Seahawks didn’t have any stars with expiring contracts this season and kept the nucleus together. They made a couple of high-profile signings in Lacy, the talented running back who has battled weight issues, and Joeckel, the former No. 2 overall pick who hasn’t lived up to that billing.

If Joeckel can thrive in Seattle, it would be a huge boost to an offensive line which was poor in 2016. The Seahawks would love for Lacy to channel Marshawn Lynch and give the backfield a bruising option. Seattle should be good again in 2017, but it is hoping a couple free agent pieces will help push it back into Super Bowl contention.

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Players added: LT Andrew Whitworth; WR Robert Woods; LB Connor Barwin; CB Kayvon Webster; RB Lance Dunbar; QB Aaron Murray

Players lost: WR Kenny Britt; TE Lance Kendricks; RB Benny Cunningham

What it means: The Rams’ offense struggled mightily once again in 2016, and this is a big year for quarterback Jared Goff in his second season. Los Angeles helped stabilize his blindside with the addition of Whitworth, a long-time star left tackle, and hopes the addition of Woods can offset the loss of Britt, the team’s best receiver a season ago.

The defense got a boost with the addition of Barwin and that unit will need to lead the way for the Rams to be more competitive in 2017. Much of Los Angeles’ future is tied to the performance of Goff and running back Todd Gurley, as new coach Sean McVay will aim to tap into their vast potential. Some of the moves in free agency were made to make life easier on that duo.

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Players added: LB Karlos Dansby; Bethea; Dawson; LB Jarvis Jones

Players lost: DT Calais Campbell; S Tony Jefferson; S D.J. Swearinger; CB Marcus Cooper; LB Kevin Minter; G Earl Watford; K Chandler Catanzaro; LB Alex Okafor; TE Darren Fells

What it means: The Cardinals were hit hard in free agency, losing several key contributors on defense, most notably Campbell and Jefferson. A solid nucleus still remains, but the depth will be challenged in 2017. The hope is that veterans Dansby and Bethea can step in and perform on the field while also contributing needed leadership in the locker room.

The offense will look similar to last season. The Cardinals didn’t add anybody new but re-signed starting tight end Jermaine Gresham and starting center A.Q. Shipley. The addition of a kicker received more attention than usual after last year’s special teams woes. Dawson is a reliable veteran who could be important if he represents an upgrade at the spot.

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